It's a landmark day in Seaside Heights and one that will go down in the history books.

It was October 29th, 2012 when Superstorm Sandy hit our state, wiping out most of the iconic structure.  While the old walkway is gone and the debris has been removed, the scars that Sandy left are still visible in plain sight.  Some of the people who attended the ceremony earlier this morning hadn't been to Seaside since the storm and were stunned by what they saw.

One gentlemen tells Townsquare Media News, "I couldn't stand to see the footage on TV and I couldn't come back here.  I came here since I was a child.  I'm 72 now.  You can imagine how this hurt.  All those memories, smashed up."

As the first of many pilings was driven into the ground, the sound of "Amazing Grace" was played by bagpipers.  The crowd was cheering as the heavy machinery did it's job with a skilled crew at the helm.


Mayor Bill Akers describes the event as "like Christmas morning.  This is the first sign that things are getting back to normal here and we will have a great Summer season.  I couldn't be happier."

Akers says the mile-long walkway should be done by May 10, but amenities like railings, lighting and ramps will come after that.

The Borough Council approved a contract for $3.6 million dollars with Millstone-based Sidd & Associates.  They are required to get the job done by May 10th or they will be fined $7,500 a day until finished.

Jay Siddiqui, Sidd & Associates’ president, said they will start out working eight to 10 hours per day Monday through Friday, but if they feel they are running behind, they will work longer hours for six days to meet their deadline.  They are confident they will be able to get it done in time.

Freeholder Joe Vicari, tourism liasion, was on hand for the event.  He says "this will definetly help get people back here and save the $4-billion-dollar a year business."