BELMAR/LAKE COMO, NJ — With all state and federal approvals finally in hand, Belmar is seeking bids to begin work on the long-awaited drainage system for Lake Como.

Companies have until Thursday, May 4 to submit proposals for the flood prevention project, which will include construction of a 700-foot outfall pipe that will extend from the lake, under Ocean Avenue and into the Atlantic Ocean.

The 60-inch-diameter iron and concrete-reinforced pipeline will replace an inadequate narrow pipe that currently drains into the ocean. Whenever heavy rains are forecasted, the situation prompts the need for temporary pumps to be set up at the lake to reduce flood risk in the surrounding residential streets.

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Once a contractor is selected, all work is expected to be completed in about nine months, according to the bid specifications. The project will be staged so that vehicle and pedestrian traffic along Ocean Avenue is not affected by the construction during the upcoming summer months.

The work will also entail the reconstruction of existing utilities, including manholes and pipes, along Ocean Avenue and North Boulevard, which borders the lake, and the restoration of the entire project area.

After nearly a two-year wait, borough officials last week received the final permits required from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and N.J. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for the $6.2 million federally funded project.

As part of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s second round of relief aid for Superstorm Sandy, Belmar in 2015 received financing for the project through a $50 million Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery, administered by the DEP’s Flood Hazard Risk Reduction and Resiliency Grant Program.

Belmar was among eight municipalities in New Jersey to receive these grants, awarded to fund projects or improvements aimed at preventing the massive flooding that occurred during Superstorm Sandy.

During the epic storm on October 29, 2012, the areas of Belmar, Lake Como and Spring Lake surrounding Lake Como were under water for more than a week, causing millions of dollars of damage to homes and streets. Belmar was given jurisdiction over the project at the state’s request, after a commission representing all three municipalities initially applied for funding.