According to some of the construction and transit workers I spoke to, what I saw this day was nothing compared to what they had cleaned up to that point.
Raritan Bay is amongst the hardest hit areas of Hurricane Sandy. On my way to visit some coastal towns I came across this.
Marinas like this are EVERYWHERE across the bay and the scenes are the same.
Speaking to a NJ transit worker I asked him about this bridge and that the dozers were doing. They were replacing all the gravel that had washed away, then he went on to tell me how they had spent a week removing over half a dozen boats from the bridge so they could start repairs.
Considering the bridge is about 40 feet from the water it was impressive to say the least. Of course the underside of the bridge tells a story, too.
Bridges weren’t the only strange places to find washed away boats.
This one was washed onto the dock with its trailer still attached.
The boathouse used to be two stories. It collapsed on itself and moved about 50 feet off its foundation thanks to 90 mph gusts. I spoke with the owner of the marina. Right now they are trying to clear boats so they can safely tear down the remains of the boathouse and rebuild. Any damage to the boats are covered under the owner’s personal policy, otherwise the marina would be completely insolvent.
Talking to some construction workers they told me about their families and friends in the area. This man (on a much deserved break) told me his brother from Union Beach is homeless, along with 30% of the town’s population. The brother has been staying with him since the storm and they’re now making long term arrangements since the home is completely destroyed.
This was as close as I got to Union Beach. It is still sealed off, with gates manned by state correctional workers.