A barge is working to begin the removal of the Jet Star roller coaster from the water off Seaside Heights.

Townsquare Media's Tom Mongelli describes a "Fourth Of July" atmosphere as crowds on the boardwalk anticipate Prince Harry's visit and the start of work to remove the Jet Star roller coaster.

It should take about four days to remove the ride, said Maria Mastoris, a spokeswoman for Casino Pier.

"We are thrilled about this," she said. "We've been waiting for this for a long time. It shows we're making progress and that we'll be open and ready for the summer."

Images of the coaster in the water have appeared hundreds of times in the media and been used to help sell memorabilia to raise money for storm victims. The coaster is featured on a popular car magnet sold by one of the many charities raising money.

It also continues to draw large crowds to the Seaside Heights boardwalk, which remains under reconstruction.

Casino Pier has hired Weeks Marine, an experienced maritime contractor, to do the work.

"They're planning on taking it apart piece by piece and taking it away, Mastoris said. "They're going to take a crane around and take pieces off."


Crowds on the boardwalk in Seaside Heights
Crowds on the boardwalk in Seaside Heights (Tom Mongelli, Townsquare Media NJ)

Works crews will operate around the clock until the last of the coaster has been removed.

In January, a man who lives nearby climbed to the top of the coaster and unfurled an American flag atop it before climbing down and being arrested by police. His municipal court case has yet to come to trial.

The project will start a few hours after Britain's Prince Harry departs from Seaside Heights. He's visiting the Ocean County community on Tuesday as part of a tour of America.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved)

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