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More Barrier Island Residents To Be Allowed Access [AUDIO]

Toms River officials were finally given the go ahead to allow limited access to the residents of Chadwick, Normandy and Ocean Beaches nearly two weeks after the super storm.

Mario Tama, Getty Images

Two adults per household will be transported by bus in three phases that span from this today November 9th to Tuesday November 13th. However, they’ll only be allowed to stay for one hour to grab essential items and then leave.

Mayor Tom Keleher says they’ve been taking lots of heat from frustrated residents for not allowing them to return to their homes following the storm, when other neighboring townships were allowed to enter.

He says access was restricted in the beach front Tom River communities because there’s varying degrees of damage to the barrier communities. He says where Seaside Park and Pelican Island only suffered minimal damage …. Ortley Beach is being referred to as “ground zero”. He says “the place is a shambles. Houses upside down, off their foundations, in the middle of the highway.” He says Ortley Beach residents will not be allowed access because the community sustained the most severe damage.

Keleher says last week, the Mayors and Police Chiefs involved with the five towns on the peninsula met to formulate a plan to allow access. He says a DOT official who attended, said they weren’t going to allow any vehicular traffic north of the Seaside Heights Boundary because the water from the massive flooding destabilized the roads causing massive sink holes. “I personally saw one pickup truck, nose down in a hole with only the tailgate showing.” He says the DOT plans to use ground-penetrating radar to identify and mark out the sink holes.

When asked about the future of homes on the barrier peninsula and the building codes, Keleher says that discussion is too early. He says state and federal environmental officials may get involved with construction restrictions. He says DEP Commissioner Martin mentioned that that’s something they’re going to have to study.

With regard to storm evacuees … Keleher says they’re pretty much out of the emergency shelters set up at area schools. He says the last remaining evacuees have been transported to the Monmouth Park Racetrack in Ocean Port that he was told had considerable amenities like bathrooms, showers. clothes washing machines. He says a Toms River Clergy group also held a meeting with him to house some of the evacuees at their facilities.

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