By JOHN T. WARD
“It was a quiet night in Sea Bright” with no additional damage to homes and businesses in the hurricane-shattered town, Long said Thursday. Heavy-duty work on streets and utilities aimed at bringing the sandbar municipality back to life has resumed, she said.
That work is now expected to be advanced enough to allow residents to return to their homes next Monday assuming that Governor Chris Christie first lifts the mandatory evacuation order he issued in advance of Hurricane Sandy, Long said.
Town officials are lobbying Trenton to enable exiled Sea Brighters to return as soon as conditions permit, she said.
That effort continues, with electrical power back on in the 1500 block of town, near the Monmouth Beach border, and pressure testing of the natural gas lines scheduled for Friday. The gas delivery system suffered multiple leaks in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, but Long said New Jersey Natural Gas has informed the town that the resumption of full service will take less than the original estimate of 30 days.
The storm sewer system has been vacuumed of sand, and the sewage pump system is running on mobile generators, Long said.
On Friday, U.S. Army soldiers arrived with tents that were set up next to the borough firehouse. The tents will be used as dining halls for volunteers and contractors working in town, and are expected to serve the same function for residents once they are allowed back into town to start cleaning and repairing their homes, said Woody’s Ocean Grille owner Chris Wood, who is spearheading the TLC effort.