DEP OK’s Bulkhead to Succeed Central Avenue Berm Plan in Ship Bottom

Intended to Address Chronic Bay Flooding
Oct 18, 2017
Courtesy Ship Bottom Police Dept.

Replacing the berm at the southern end of Central Avenue in Ship Bottom with a bulkhead, a crucial part of limiting back-bay flooding in one of the oldest and most flood-prone areas in the borough, could come to fruition sooner rather than later. The state Department of Environmental Protection has agreed to the emergency construction of a bulkhead in the area after initially approving a permit that authorized rip-rap, or stone protection, after meeting with borough and Long Beach Township officials late last year to discuss issues they were having with the flooding along the coastal evacuation route, according to Larry Hajna, a press officer for the DEP.

“They (the DEP) went back to look at the street end, and noted that some flooding was occurring,” he said, explaining that the Division of Land Use Regulation said the borough could move ahead with emergency construction of a bulkhead instead, and that officials could follow up with a formal permit application.

“It’s good news,” Mayor William Huelsenbeck said Monday, remarking that he was not notified of the DEP plan reversal. He said he would notify Ocean County because Central Avenue is a county road.

In the meantime, the borough is still waiting for the county to make good on its promise to install a temporary pump to help bay flood water recede in the area of West 28th Street, Central Avenue and Long Beach Boulevard.

“The pump is the most important thing and will provide the most immediate relief,” Huelsenbeck said. Borough officials had met with the county about the issue nearly a month ago. “It’s hard to convince them (the county) that we’re talking about sunny-day flooding, not rainy-day flooding.”

Currently, the flood waters come in more quickly than they recede, and that is what causes the flooding. The borough has previously addressed the flooding by installing tie valves, which allow the water to flow only in one direction. The tie valves are maintained annually, and inspected every six months to ensure they work properly. Still, water can become trapped in the pipes for a period of time, and then pushed out.

Earlier this year, borough officials also asked the county engineering department to look at solutions to reduce flooding on Long Beach Boulevard between 23rd and 30th streets, saying they believe raising the crown of the main Island thoroughfare would create an almost flood-free zone for cars traveling through town. Currently, most motorists use the center turning lane to bypass high water overwhelming the driving lanes going north and south. In Long Beach Township and Beach Haven, motorists can travel on the ocean side roads when the Boulevard is impassable with flood waters.

Just last month, the borough experienced nearly a week of bay flooding so severe that water was rushing from the end of West 28th Street to the Boulevard as if it were a river. The following week, residents crowded into the borough council meeting with frustration, and the idea of selling their homes in the worse flood-prone areas.

Gina G. Scala

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