Barnegat Light — The picnic tables were out and full again on the inlet side of Barnegat Lighthouse State Park last weekend, and the gazebo hosted a band to accompany a night climb of the lighthouse. The bulkhead replacement project is done there three months earlier than first announced.
“The contractor worked to complete the job early to avoid the peak tourism season,” said Larry Hajna, spokesman for the N.J. Dept. of Environmental Protection, whose Department of Parks and Forestry administers the park.
In the spring, the state had announced the work could take until September.
Contractor Marbro Inc. installed the new bulkhead along the inlet. The total cost of design and construction was $998,977.
“The project entailed removing the existing timber bulkhead and replacing it with steel sheeting, as well as filling in voids between the existing stone jetty and the new bulkhead,” Hajna said. “A new timber cap was installed along the length of the bulkhead.”
The new bulkhead is 30 feet long, compared to its 20-foot-long bulkhead predecessor.
The work never affected access to the lighthouse, the jetty walkway or the beach.
The picnic area is a spectacular place to sit or to fish from the bulkhead, watching all sorts of boats pass through the inlet in front of the lighthouse.
Once in a while, parkgoers will happen onto a wedding of a couple who arranged first with the park office (by calling 609-494-2016).
This time of year through September, the park is open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The lighthouse itself is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. through Labor Day, weather permitting. There is a $3 fee per person to enter the lighthouse, where 217 steps lead to a panoramic view from the top.
Children ages 6 to 11 are charged $1; younger children are free and must be accompanied by an adult.
Visitors can also catch the views from the top without climbing the 217 steps, thanks to four cameras that transmit live images of the view to a display in the adjacent Interpretive Center.