BELMAR/LAKE COMO, NJ — There is a double-dose of good news on the Lake Como drainage improvement project.

Except for landscape work that will be done this fall at the lake’s eastern end, the project has been completed — an underground 700-foot pipeline now extends from the lake to the ocean, designed to protect the surrounding flood-prone residential neighborhoods in Belmar, Lake Como and Spring Lake.

And the massive undertaking’s cost came in nearly $370,000 under budget. As a result, the Belmar Borough Council at its August 7 meeting approved a change order to its original $4.3 million contract with Bird Construction of Bayville for the work.

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“We were able to find efficiencies in the contract,” said Belmar Business Administrator Colleen Connolly.

The federally funded project has been a long time in the making since Belmar received a $6.2 million grant in Superstorm Sandy relief aid from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in May 2015.

As the project’s lead municipality, the borough spent nearly two years working through a regulatory maze to gain the federal, state and county approvals needed so that the project could begin.

When the first shovel hit the ground last September, Bird Construction promised the massive undertaking would be completed by Memorial Day — and the marine contractor was not far off that mark.

Its crews worked through the winter’s coldest weather to construct the iron and concrete-reinforced pipeline, which measures 60 inches in diameter, from Lake Como, under Ocean Avenue and into the Atlantic Ocean, where work could only be done at low tide.

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.

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