Flood Water Relief on the Way in Ship Bottom

Jul 12, 2017
File Photo by: Ryan Morrill

A temporary pipe to help flood water recede more quickly is on tap for one of the oldest and most flood-prone areas in Ship Bottom, borough officials said. The decision came less than two months after the borough council asked Ocean County for an improvement plan for specific areas prone to back-bay flooding.

“The county wants to install a temporary pipe,” Mayor William Huelsenbeck said, “and we like that so we can see how it works.”

The temporary pipe is expected to move flood waters more quickly out of the area. Right now, tidal waters come in faster than they recede, which creates the flooding problem. Still, the mayor has cautioned that while the pipe will help, it will not be a 100 percent fix.

The bulkhead located at the end of West 28th Street and Central Avenue, which allows tide water to escape onto the road through a gap, will also be fixed, Huelsenbeck said. There’s no timeframe or details on when or how the bulkhead will be repaired.

“If you want to throw gasoline on the fire,” the mayor told West 28th Street residents who attended the last council meeting, on June 27, “send a letter (to the county).”

The borough has addressed the back-bay flooding issue 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.

“Water is rising in the bay, and we’re doing all we can,” Huelsenbeck said. “Someday, we’re going to lose.”

Another area impacted by back-bay flooding is Long Beach Boulevard. Solving that issue will take longer to resolve, the mayor said. The borough, Beach Haven and Long Beach Township have all petitioned the county for a resolution to the problem on the Boulevard, a county road, the only way to travel the length of the Island.

Ship Bottom officials believe raising the crown of Long Beach Boulevard would create an almost flood-free zone for cars traveling through the borough. Currently, most motorists use the center turning lane to bypass the high waters overwhelming the driving lanes going north and south, Huelsenbeck said.

When Long Beach Boulevard floods from points south, other towns have the option of rerouting traffic to Beach Avenue/Ocean Boulevard. There are no parallel roads in Ship Bottom to ease the bottlenecking that occurs when Central Avenue and Long Beach Boulevard are closed to traffic, Huelsenbeck said.

With the county working to relieve tidal flooding, Ship Bottom is set to see a reprieve from nearly all of its troubled flood zones. In February, the state Department of Transportation announced plans to create a new drainage system – part of the $350 million Route 72/Manahawkin Bay Bridge project currently underway – of underground gravity flow pipes along Eight and Ninth streets from the Boulevard to the bay.

“The new system directs run-off to two new, separate outfall locations on the north and south sides of the East Thorofare Bridge,” Kevin Israel, state DOT spokesman, explained earlier. “This alternative provides operational redundancy, such that one clogged outfall will not cause flooding problems at both locations.”

— Gina G. Scala

ggscala@thesandpaper.net

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