SPRING LAKE, N.J. -- The Spring Lake boardwalk, rebuilt with a composite called TimberTech ( www.timbertech.com ), is now operational and being used by residents and visitors from nearby towns for daily walks and jogs. The two-mile long, 18 ft. wide boardwalk was stripped down to its concrete pilings after Hurricane Sandy barreled up the New Jersey coastline on Oct 29, 2012. It has been rebuilt with construction grade 4X12 lumber underneath for support and a TimberTech composite called Docksider, specifically designed for docks and boardwalks.

According to W. Bryan Dempsey, Borough Administrator, Spring Lake has the only boardwalk in the area that is operational now. It is also the only one using its own DPW crews to rebuild, with five dedicated town workers and 15 -20 additional hired labor very pleased to have work this time of year.

On a brisk, windy day in mid-April, the workers' saws and drills were buzzing near the South Pavilion, as they added finishing touches and built-in benches made of the composite. Dempsey was out greeting pedestrians who came to walk on the boardwalk from miles around. LuAnn Peters of Brielle said, "I like this new material, it has some give to it and it looks like real wood. It should be great to jog on." Jim Revel of Wall Township said he wanted to walk near the ocean again: "This is the only good place in the area where you can walk near the beach and it just looks beautiful... beautiful job."

After Hurricane Sandy, pieces of the boardwalk lay strewn on the beach or across the street on residents' lawns. Only the original concrete pilings were left standing. As a reminder of the boardwalk's history, one piling shows a stamp with "WPA 1937," which stands for Work Progress Administration, a Roosevelt New Deal program intended to put public workers back to work after the Great Depression.

Dempsey said at one point in late winter, large structural lumber profiles were not easy to get for a while. Rain in the south had affected the lumber shipments. To keep on track, he said, "We utilized as much salvaged lumber as possible, completing entire sections at a time, joining them and then laying the TimberTech over them. Using stainless steel screws and screw guns, the decking went down easily and the crew said they liked the new composite better than the previous material."

The town's engineering consultants had to design for both people and vehicles and add some protective measures. "We had to figure out loads for pedestrians and town vehicles for the structural lumber attached to the pilings and then the TimberTech on the surface," said Peter Avakian, P.E., of Leon S. Avakian Consulting Engineers Inc. "To protect the boardwalk, we have new metal stanchions (each emblazoned with Spring Lake) that straddle the joined areas and are designed to break away in sections," he explained. "That way, the boardwalk and railings stay as one complete section. The stanchions also have a nice design aesthetic." He mentioned that the town is considering dune bulkheads for added protection.

Not only is the Spring Lake boardwalk already in use by pedestrians, there is access to the beach with new stairs and ramps. For beach crowds, Dempsey says weather-permitting, everything should be completed by May 1st. "The last small stretch of the Northern section, not needed for beach access, may be finished later but the boardwalk will be ready for the public before Memorial Weekend."

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.