The Fish Story

Nostrajaymous at Your Foretelling Service; The Causeway Could Become a Cakewalk

By JAY MANN | Apr 04, 2018

MY JETTYISH SOOTHSAYING: I had some outside reactions to last week’s columnistic mention of a jumbo jetty planned for the Wooden Jetty zone, Holgate. Those reactions allow me to assume my Nostrajaymus persona – and divine the future of the far south end.

Firstly, I should have foreseen that not everyone knew about that proposed big-ass jetty – technically a groin, but let’s not go there. Its job would be to block the north-to-south migration of replenishment sand, twice placed along the beaches of Holgate proper, i.e. the populated portion of Holgate. Shall we call the be-peopled zone the Holgate Commons? Just kidding. Those Commons folks can be gnarly about the name-us thing.

Anyway, a mega-jetty would hypothetically/hydrodynamically block the flow of most southbound sand. Doing so, the tons atop tons of replen sand now flowing onto badly eroded areas of the Holgate refuge area would pretty much grind to a halt.

Now, I’ll put on my soothsayer hip-waders and mystically portend that said gimundo jetty would usher in hard and dry times for the beaches south of it, as nearly all mega-jetties have done along the entire Eastern Seaboard.

I further see a sand-starved Holgate refuge quickly experiencing break-overs, as inlet-like channels develop between ocean and bay. Probing deeper into times to come, I envision the entire south end breaking into a series of channel-separated parcels, quickly becoming little more than a run of highly vegetated sedge islands. To see a high-speed vegetative takeover, check out the sedge-ish island off the west side of the Holgate tip. In less than 10 years, it went from sheer sand to thoroughly grassed over; no place for plovers.

As erosion wins the south end day, I envisage Long Beach Township – and likely other Island municipalities – saying enough already with that disappearance act. Also, I'm taking note of all the LBI devotees, far and wide, rallying against the loss of 2 miles’ worth of precious, beachcomber-beloved, Island-end real estate.

Now, from the Chinese mist within my Dollar Store crystal ball, I’m making out the wormy emergence of the never fully/legally understood question of who holds the greater sway over LBI’s far south-end beaches – the feds or the state? I see the quandary crawling out of Holgate and onto the legislative floors in Trenton – and possibly D.C.

Within another volley of futuristic ball-mist, I believe I see the refuge re-pondering its strict no-beach-replenishment carriage – as the Holgate Wilderness, a Natural Heritage Priority Site, erodes into the sunset. When the likes of piping plover, one of the refuge’s main charges, begin suffering from the loss of what is currently utterly ideal habitat, might it become time for the feds to climb aboard the south-end salvation train of thought?

Even as a soothsayer, I can’t stave off those perpetual absurdist voices. I fore-hear the Forsythe Refuge being asked from up above, i.e. headquarters in Hadley, Mass., “Uh, where’s your Holgate Wilderness area? We don’t see it on the satellite map anymore.”

Refuge: “Uh, which wilderness area was that again?’

HQ: “Holgate.”

Refuge: “Hmmm. Never heard of it.”

Joshin’ aside, I should duly note that the Forsythe folks have already agreed that a refuge-adjacent beach-fill might be allowable, providing it be done in the off-season – and steered utterly clear of any and all contact with federal wilderness area real estate. That came about when there was talk about doing a beach-fill using material dredged from nearby sanded-over bayside channels. Such a bay-to-beach dredging was done in Barnegat Light just this past winter.

I’ll hereby end my jetty/Holgate prophesying by idly suggesting there are many hurdles and hoop-jumps still to be cleared prior to jumbo jetty rocks being zeroed in upon Wooden Jetty. If plans reach the final tweak phase, possibly this autumn, I’m betting the jumbo jetty design could incorporate strategic breaches, openings that would allow some sand to drift southward … and refuge-ward. Such openings have been added after the fact to many mongo jetties.

Obviously, I’m focused on this jetty matter. That said, there is always a load of shut-mouthedness as plans are being made in Trenton. To the good, I’m told I’m on the first-contact list when public notifications about the project are revealed. Thusly, you’ll be quickly informed. That’s my thing. See

NAMECALLING: Work on the Route 72 Causeway double-build remains in full – and fully irksome – swing. I’ll note, likely unadvisedly, the project is a tad ahead of schedule. That’s cool.

Technically, the project is into the fifth awarded contract – out of six. This current phase, as we all can kinda tell, is highlighted by what is being called structural rehabilitation work on our “Big Bridge,” i.e. the Dorland J. Henderson Memorial Bridge. Smile down on the work, Dorland. Your span is in good hands.

I dub it a “double-build” because, in the end, there will be sistered, side-by-side Causeway bridges. The end should show up in 2021, give or take a 1.

The first sister, which is pretty much completed, is the new southerly Causeway bridge, hosting  eastbound traffic. I’m temporarily dubbing her the Eastbound Causeway Bridge. A much better name is surely in order. Maybe we can get local first-graders to name her in some sort of Causeway Naming Contest – with the winning kid getting a bridge named after him or her.

The sister span to the to-be-further-named Eastbound Causeway Bridge is ye olde Dorland bridge. It can be likened to the new bridge’s way older sister – now in the midst of a total facelift – with a load of structural nips and tucks thrown in.

When done, the reborn Dorland J. Henderson Memorial “Big Bridge” will be heir to westbound traffic. What’s more, it will also bear a comely 6-foot-wide public pedestrian walkway for foot folks heading both east and west. The new walkway will run the entire length of the Causeway’s north side, including over the trestle bridges, i.e. the little bridges. The Eastbound Causeway will have no such walkway.

Checking out the walkway, I’m liking its elaborate, muscularly metaled guardrail system, easily beefy enough to fend off any out-of-control vehicles. Many a lead-foot driver travels the Causeway, seemingly listening to 1974 Kraftwerk song lyrics, “Bahn, bahn  bahn … on the Autobahn.” I prefer “Bound, Bound, Bound … on the Island Bound” – driven at a safe speed … numbnuts!

Don’t tell anyone, but I’m hearing that the new walkway might be fully and walkably functional by the upcoming summer. This would allow mainland folks, especially Staffordites in Beach Haven West, to once again amble over to LBI – after years of ambulatory separation from the beach due to the Causeway project. The walkway could even see some vice versa foot traffic. Island people have been known to walk/run westward from LBI. Go figure.

Should the Causeway walkway soon open, problems could arise from bicycle riders, of which the area has a multitudinous force.

While bike riders will eventually have their very own 13-foot-wide shoulders on both the Dorland and Eastbound Causeway bridges, those pedaler-dedicated lanes won’t be happening anytime soon. This means bicyclists might have to impose on the pedestrian walkway. That could be a bad usership mix, as bikers get a head of momentum on the downhill side of Dorland Bridge walkway … with walkers dead ahead. If bikers can share the walkway – and that’s not a given – I’m guessing they’ll be required to walk their bikes, at least over the bridges.

Please note: Some of the above info is semi-speculation, just between you, me – and those giant lampposts shedding light on the Eastbound Causeway. The same stanchion lights will illuminate the Dorland Bridge. By the by, I’m pressing the DOT for walkway info after being begged for updates by wannabe bridge crossers.

NAME THAT WATERWAY: Hard to believe, but I first came into this Causeway bridge segment simply to pass on the official names of the waterways being bridged during the project. Those names are important since the NJDOT is using the waterway names to designate the related bridges. I’ll explain.

Heading off the Island, the first trestle bridge, colloquially called the Hochstrasser Bridge, is technically the East Thorofare Bridge, since it crosses the East Thorofare waterway. See how it works? So, the next bridge spans the West Thorofare waterway. That would make it … any guesses? Correctamundo! The West Thorofare Bridge. Nice try, but no cigar for the fellow who guessed it would be named “the Not-East Thorofare Bridge.” I like his thinking, though. By the by, the West Thoroughfare Bridge is often referred to as the Dutchman’s Bridge.

Finally, there’s the trestle bridge toward the mainland, called the Hilliard Thorofare (waterway) Bridge, once known as the Margo’s Bridge. What’s a Margo’s, right?

By the by, the waterway beneath the Causeway’s big bridges is the Intracoastal Waterway.

UFO’S ‘R’ US: Years back, I jokingly joined what I’ll generously describe as a highly dedicated UFO-seeking club, though I’m now realizing it’s more of a reality-seeking club – in which many members are still desperately seeking.

The group recently bombarded me with one of its “Red Alert!”s. This highest of alerts is based on a three-video UFO series – code-named “GO FAST – recently wrested from the steely grips of the Pentagon. They were pried free through the Freedom of Information Act and pulled from among untold UFO and “X” files hidden within the five-sided DoD headquarters.

The GO FAST videos were quickly acquired – and forwarded to the news media – by an organization called To the Stars Academy of Arts and Science. TTSA is itself a bit of a UFO, as in Utterly Freaky Organization. Co-founded by Tom DeLonge, guitarist and singer with the pop band Blink-182, its leadership gets heavier and headier through co-founder Hal Puthoff, a NASA and DoD adviser. Bringing TTSA into the realm of head-bangingly esoteric is associate Jim Semivan, a former senior intelligence member of the CIA.

The highlight of GO FAST is a U.S. Navy incident from 2015. It features a Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet flying at 25,000 feet and encountering a shout-worthy unidentified flying whatever. In the vid, you can hear a boys-will-be-boys excitement as the jet’s aerial observer and weapons system operator spot the proverbial UFO.

According to TTSA, it’s “an authentic DoD video that captures the high-speed flight of an unidentified aircraft at low altitudes.”

You can see the video by Googling “GO FAST Navy Video.”

I’ll warn you right now, the footage won’t knock your extraterrestrial-seeking socks off. In fact, it’s one of those “What exactly am I supposed to be seeing here?” things. However, I have known a slew of fighter pilots, and they just don’t get overly excited about things … unless there’s a damn good reason. By the tenor of these Navy aviators, they were surely seeing something fully freaky.

The video also had my UFOologist group members jumping out of their skins, which meant I had to throw on some cold water. I’m their built-in stick in the mud.

After watching and re-watching the Super Hornet video, I balked a bit at the seeming unnatural speed of the UFO. Getting real, nothing traveling at that speed could avoid breaking the sound barrier, issuing sonic booms. None were detected on the ground at the time. Even if the UFO was using some sort of sonic boom silencer, entering Mach 1 speeds indubitably creates a blurry atmospheric signature around the flanks of any aircraft, looking like hot air rising from a desert on a scalding day. None showing.

After dozens of viewings – and surfing over to a few other “irrefutable” UFO videos on YouTube – I back-focused on something a local laser-miester professor told me not that many years back. During an interview, I was mind-boggled by the not-nutty professor as he spoke of a headlong national rush toward developing war-worthy laser images. He foresaw – or was he helping to work on? – military-grade hologram transmissions.

Today, DoD-funded hologram research is being more covertly advanced by the Non-Lethal Technology Innovations Center at the University of New Hampshire. A similar lab is located at the University of Pennsylvania. Their academic focus is simple and spooky: find ways to project enormous holograms above battlefields – you know, to scare the heck out of enemy forces.

Returning to the UFO realm, I have it on above-average authority that experimental holograms are already experimentally lighting up our own friendly skies. It’s now a breeze to project, say, eerie lights over Phoenix … or flash them, UFO-ically, in front of fighter jet pilots. To be sure, we need to get a good look at how holographic light shows can be put to proper people-spooking use before packing them off to warzones – to radiate a sky-filling image of, say, a baldheaded Marlon Brando taken from an “Apocalypse Now” scene, insanely issuing words like “I watched a snail crawl across the edge of a straight razor.”

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