Ship Bottom Residents, Business Owners Flood Council Meeting With Concerns

May 31, 2017
File Photo by: Jack Reynolds

Imagine waking up on a sun-drenched morning under bright blue skies and not being able to leave your driveway because of flooding. It might sound far-fetched to some, but it’s a common problem for residents of West 28th Street in Ship Bottom, where back-bay flooding commonly makes the road impassable.

“I know it’s a long-standing problem,” resident Angela Trampota told the borough council at its May 23 meeting. “We get locked in, and that’s a concern for me.”

While she appreciates the effort the council is making by reaching out to the Ocean County Engineering Department for some kind of solution, she noted some of the options won’t help because “water still comes through the bulkhead.”

The area in question, West 28th Street and Central Avenue, is one of the oldest in the borough, and part of the flood-prone zones in the gateway community officials have asked the county engineering department to take a closer look at, according to Mayor William Huelsenbeck.

Solving the problem in that area is twofold, Borough Engineer Frank Little said. First is the installation of a small pump to move flood waters more quickly out of the area. Right now, the tide waters come in faster than they recede, which creates the flood issue.

“Not all pumps are on paper,” Huelsenbeck said. “There’s no sense in pumping if you’re pumping in a circle. It’s going to help, but it’s not going to be 100 percent.”

The second problem at the site, Little said, is how to seal off the end of 28th Street where the bulkhead is located.

“There is a gap in the bulkhead,” he said, noting high tide causes the flooding, and a retaining wall could help alleviate the problem in that area.

Although Little has been in contact with the county engineering department, he cautioned it’s in the beginning stages. He’s supplying the county with borough storm water maps to get things started.

The county engineer is also being asked to look at what can be done on Long Beach Boulevard to reduce the flooding between 23rd and 30th streets, the mayor said.  Borough 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 take it upon themselves to use the center turning lane to bypass the high waters overwhelming the driving lanes going north and south, he said.

“It’s a public safety issue,” said Brian Farias, owner of Farias Surf and Sport at 28th Street and the Boulevard. “Hopefully the county will take that into consideration.”

When Long Beach Boulevard floods from points south, officials 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.

Finally, several residents asked about shutting down side streets leading from Central Avenue to Long Beach Boulevard when the area is flooded. They said large vehicles using the side roads as a cut-through create a wake, which is what causes the flooding in front of their homes.

“We have done it,” the mayor said. “But we don’t always know that it’s happening. You need to make a phone call.”

— Gina G. Scala

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