A highway in a part of New Jersey that was hard-hit by Hurricane Sandy is going to be rebuilt.

About $215 million in federal highway funds will go toward rebuilding Route 35 from Point Pleasant Beach to the entrance of Island Beach State Park.

The area along the 12.5-mile stretch of highway sustained extensive damage from the storm.

Gov. Chris Christie says rebuilding the road is a symbolic milestone toward recovery.

"This project is important as a symbol for the region and for all those who still face the uphold challenge of rebuilding," the governor said Tuesday. "As I said all along, this is going to be a long process.

"It's not going to be a short one, and I am also thoroughly committed to making steady and sure progress and improving on what we had before."

Infrastructure repair

The new highway will be 24 inches thick and can be repaired more efficiently, said Jim Simpson, commissioner of the state Department of Transportation.

"As we rebuild the infrastructure along the Jersey coastline, whether it's storm-related damage or worn out from age, we are identifying opportunities to harden the roads and bridges to make them more resilient and better able to withstand Mother Nature and potentially future storms," he said.

Simpson noted that the project will include a new drainage system with pump stations that should help prevent flooding.

The work is expected to begin this summer and take two years to complete.