Ship Bottom Drainage Audit Encompasses West 28th Street Bulkhead Decision

Feb 14, 2018
Photo by: Jack Reynolds

The county engineering department is currently analyzing the drainage area of Long Beach Boulevard and 24th through 31st streets in Ship Bottom, according to the borough engineer. The analysis includes decisions pertaining to a new bulkhead at 28th Street.

“I spoke to County Engineer John Ernst last week, and they have obtained elevations on Long Beach Boulevard between 24th and 31st streets as well as the streets to the west of the Boulevard between 28th and roughly 25th streets,” Frank Little, borough engineer, said earlier this week.

After nearly a year of waiting, borough officials learned  the state Department of Environmental Protection has agreed to the emergency construction of a bulkhead at the southern end of Central Avenue. The state agency had initially approved a permit for a rip-rap, or stone protection, after meeting with the borough and Long Beach Township officials in December 2016 to discuss issues they were having with the flooding along the coastal evacuation route, Larry Hajna, a press officer for the DEP, has said.

“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.

The area in question is one of the oldest and most flood-prone zones in the borough, Mayor William Huelsenbeck has said.

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.

Borough officials early last year 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.

The borough experienced nearly a week of bay flooding in September 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 worst flood-prone areas.

When the county will begin work to install a temporary pump to help bay flood water recede in the area of West 28th Street, Central Avenue and Long Beach Boulevard is unknown.

“The pump is the most important thing and will provide the most immediate relief,” Huelsenbeck has said.

In other news, the borough is currently undergoing a water and sewer project, which is impacting various streets throughout Ship Bottom, Little said. The equipment for that project is currently being kept on Central Avenue between 25th and 26th streets, he said.

— Gina G. Scala

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