Eagleswood Reorganizes, Pipeline Project Begins on Dock Road

Jan 09, 2019
Photo by: Ryan Morrill

With Monday night’s first meeting of the new year for the Eagleswood Township Committee came new job titles for the three elected officials: Michael Pasternak was sworn in as mayor, Nick Sommaripa as deputy mayor and Debra Rivas as committeewoman (not “committeeperson,” she asserted). The offices of the governing body are three-year terms, with the seats rotated annually.

Pasternak told the room he looks forward to serving residents and representing the community. He thanked the volunteers that help the town run smoothly and keep people safe.

“I have the feeling this is going to be a busy year,” he said, naming the upcoming renovations at the municipal building, tax map digitization, update of the master plan, and an emergency generator project.

He said he anticipates “issues” with the gas company as the work of laying pipeline under the bay progresses.

Construction has begun at the east end of Dock Road, with the pavilion at the public park closed for now, according to signage, despite promises in 2017 from project manager David Tanzi of the environmental consulting firm CDM Smith that fishing and other recreation at the boat launch area could continue during construction. Though vehicle parking might be temporarily moved to Dock Road, use of the area would not otherwise be interrupted, Tanzi had said.

The ordinance authorizing the easement, right of way and temporary workspace at the end of Dock Road to New Jersey Natural Gas was adopted Monday night as the only order of business aside from standard start-of-the-year resolutions and consent agenda.

A public hearing was held in September 2017 on the town’s application to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Green Acres Program, to divert 0.02 acres (approx. 900 square feet) of parkland at the end of Dock Road for a permanent easement to NJNG to connect a secondary natural gas pipeline under the bay to supply Long Beach Island in the event of another weather event on the scale of Superstorm Sandy in 2012. The so-called LBI Reinforcement Project is one of the capital projects in NJNG’s New Jersey Reinvestment in System Enhancements program, approved by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities in July 2014. Heretofore, the only gas line feed to the Island has been Route 72; the new pipe will serve as a redundant main to the existing 12-inch main on 72.

The plan will run 2.72 miles of 12-inch Powercrete epoxy-coated steel pipe as a secondary feed under Little Egg Harbor, by way of directional boring or horizontal directional drilling, from the end of Dock Road in West Creek to West 99th Street (Alabama Avenue) in Beach Haven Park. Horizontal directional drilling is a steerable, trenchless method of installing underground pipe, conduit or cable in a shallow arc along a prescribed bore path by using a surface-launched drilling rig. The method is said to have minimal impact on the surrounding area. The land diversion ends up disturbing 0.02 acres (of the total 29,000-square-foot area) for a permanent, subsurface NJNG easement. In exchange for the easement, Eagleswood Township receives $70,000 to purchase open space.

Road blockages and the nuisance of heavy machinery were some of the main concerns expressed by residents at the public hearing. As of Monday, committee members said they had “not yet” heard any complaints from residents about the construction underway.

—Victoria Ford


(Photo by: Ryan Morrill)
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