SEASIDE HEIGHTS - Prince Harry will be among the final tourists to take in the sobering site of the Jet Star roller coaster in the Atlantic Ocean that has defined Hurricane Sandy at the Jersey Shore.
Casino Pier confirmed Monday that its iconic roller coaster - partially submerged in the ocean just off shore and flying an American flag - will be dismantled beginning Tuesday afternoon, just hours after Prince Harry rolls through.
Maria Mastoris, marketing manager for Casino Pier, said the timing was coincidental, that it was not delayed for Harry, and that the contractor, Weeks Marine, had been waiting for proper weather and conditions to begin the removal.
"We would rather it wasn't the same day," she said, referring to the Prince's visit. Prince Harry is scheduled to arrive in nearby Mantoloking around 10 a.m., take a quick walk along Bay Avenue, where ripped apart houses still show the scars of Sandy and where the town is still under partial lockdown, its borders manned by State Police.
The princely motorcade, accompanied by Gov. Christie, will then travel north along Route 35 to Seaside Heights, where he will stop at Casino Pier and take in the roller coaster and the Boardwalk, which is being rebuilt.
He is not expected to stay long or interact with many people who are not already preapproved.
The first phase of the roller coaster removal project will consist of removal of the Jet Star and the other related debris in the water. Weeks Marine will be working around the clock on the removal until completion, Mastoris said. The entire project will take several days to complete once they begin on Tuesday.
The removal will begin around 2 p.m., she said. Casino Pier representatives have asked that a portion of the destroyed roller coaster - which has an American flag - be preserved for a monument to Sandy that will be built on the pier.