Monday July 1, 2013
When Superstorm Sandy reared her ugly head on the New Jersey and New York shores in October, she not only destroyed our beaches and homes, but also attempted to make her way to Lady Liberty.
The storm surge breached the bulkheads of Ellis Island and tore up the pathways that lead visitors around the historic landmark.
Because of the damage, Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty has been closed since the storm hit.
However, with the help of Woodbury-based EP Henry, the national park and landmark will reopen with limited access on July 4.
Joe Fields, EP Henry director of contractor services, said the damage to the walkways all over Ellis Island was devastating.
“I was there in March and it was a real eye opener to what this storm really did,” Field said. “It was difficult to even walk around.”
EP Henry was hired to provide 50,000 square feet of pavers to repair the walkways around the Statue of Liberty.
“It was hectic,” Fields said. “A lot of information had to be provided and they had to manufacture all the product in the Wrightstown (NJ) plant. Then they loaded it onto a barge in Newark and sailed it out to Lady Liberty.”
Fields said working on the project gives him a feeling of pride.
“We’re an all-American company,” he said. “To be involved was monumental. So much needed to be done.”
Repairing the walkways was only a small part of the $59 billion restoration project which also included repairs to the base of the Statue of Liberty which was damaged during Superstorm Sandy, and replacing the back-up generators and power systems for the island.
According to the National Parks Service, the statue received no damage. The 126-year-old iron framework designed by Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel proved to be stronger than the storm.
Fields said the island looked like it was covered by an army of ants during restoration.
“There were people working on the docks and everywhere,” he said. “It was interesting to see everyone running around. The deadline is looming on July 4, but it will be ready.”
Ken Salazar, secretary of the interior, said on Dec. 13 that the island would be repaired.
“We’re going to get this done as soon as we possibly can because the Statue of Liberty is such an important icon for New York and America,” Salazar said after a tour of the island.
To follow the progress of the recovery of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, find them at www.facebook.com/statuelibrtynps or on Twitter, @StatueLibrtyNPS.
Source: South Jersey Times