In his over 25 years of experience in the construction industry, Brian Delpome, vice president of field operations for Ferreira Construction of Branchburg, says he has never seen the kind of devastation left behind by SuperStorm Sandy on Oct. 29, 2012 – save but one other day.
“Without the incredible loss of life, the shore towns in Monmouth County looked like Ground Zero on 9/11. It was insane chaos. There were houses and boats everywhere, upside down and in the middle of Route 35. There were cars buried in sink holes and sand absolutely everywhere. We moved and cleaned at least 150,000 yards of sand – town after town, there were five or six feet of sand down every side street.”
The day after the storm, when the sand had settled everywhere but the beaches, Ferreira got a call from the mayor of Belmar requesting assistance. A day later, the New Jersey Department of Transportation called in a maintenance team from Ferreira to help out. In the weeks that followed, Delpome said his team and equipment were on site wherever they were needed.
“In Belmar, there was a lot of water. We had 75 guys onsite handling everything from pumping the streets down to removing portions of the boardwalk which was scattered throughout the town,” Delpome said. “We helped remove and clean the sand, rebuilding the berm and restoring the beach as we went. We also helped people get back into their houses.”
In addition to helping out in Seabright, Mantoloking, Asbury Park, Perth Amboy and even as far north as Readington, Ferreira offered the most assistance in Seaside Heights and Ortley Beach. In fact, for seven days a week, 24 hours a day for seven weeks, Delpome said he had up to 175 guys working on the island.
The Crisdel Group of South Plainfield was brought in by Ferreira as a subcontractor to help clear debris and sand from the streets of Ortley Beach. The Crisdel team, led by executive vice president Michael Criscola, was on site for two weeks.
“It was a devastating scene,” he recalled. “ I wasn’t prepared to see what I saw. People who got there a day or two before me tried to warn me, but the sheer amount of devastation was incredible. Reminds you of how powerful the forces of Mother Nature really are. I’ve always lived near the water and I’ve seen nasty storms. But the amount of sand moved by Sandy blew my mind.”
Ferreira’s crews and equipment are still in Belmar and Ortley Beach. Delpome said he will never forget the scene he witness when he arrived in Ortley shortly after the Halloween storm.
“Our first job was to open up Route 35 but to do that, we literally had to move houses and boats from the middle of the highway. We had to lift utility poles out of the way and clear the debris and sand to allow safe passage through the town,” he said.
Working along with AshBritt Environmental, Ferreira’s men helped to remove what was left of destroyed houses, cleaning the household debris and garbage from the area to allow homeowners to be able to get in and collect whatever they could find.”
“We moved over 250,000 yards of garbage and household debris in Ortley Beach alone,” Delpome said.