Photograph by Chris Davis

On January 9, belmar became the first Hurricane Sandy-ravaged New Jersey shore town to break ground on a new boardwalk.

After Governor Chris Christie ceremonially began the project by throwing the switch on a pile driver, Epic construction of Piscataway, New Jersey, dispatched a crew of 58 carpenters, electricians, and dock builders, with a goal of completing the 1.3-mile boardwalk in time for Memorial Day. Workers will drive 2,886 pilings and lay roughly 41,300 composite boards made from reclaimed or recycled wood and plastic.

The $8 million boardwalk is designed to withstand future hurricanes, with 25-foot-long pilings (twice as long as before) and 14-inch stainless-steel hurricane straps fastened to joists.

Robert Epifano started Epic in 1971 and now serves as chairman of the board of the 150-person company, which is run by his sons, Robert Jr. and John. “This is not a big project for us,” says Joel Lizotte, Epic’s senior vice president. “But our guys are very emotionally attached to it.”