“It’s like having a ’64 Chevy: You can buy a brand new engine for it for $15,000, or you could spend $5,000 on a rebuilt engine that will run just as well,” he said.
Work started last week on a three-block section. Eventually, 20 of the boardwalk’s 26 blocks will be refurbished, a process that could take five years, with work done in the offseason to avoid interfering with tourist season.
The mayor said there has been talk of possibly collaborating with neighboring North Wildwood to repair about 10 blocks of the walkway in that municipality, but no firm plans have been made.
Wildwood will apply for grants and explore numerous funding sources for future boardwalk repair. Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat like Byron, vetoed $56 million in special funding for Wildwood boardwalk repairs in 2019, voicing doubts about its constitutionality.
A proposal to reclassify the boardwalk as a roadway to make it eligible for transportation funding also went nowhere.
As part of the work, the concrete strips on which Wildwood’s legendary tram cars would rise are being removed. Bicyclists sometimes got their tires caught in gaps where the concrete edge met the boardwalk wood.
The rebuilt boardwalk’s surface will be entirely made of wood, but the tram cars will continue to operate as usual.