Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Strathmere hammered / Upper Township OKs $300,000 in emergency funds to build wall

By MICHAEL MILLER Staff Writer, 609-463-6712
Published: Wednesday, October 22, 2008

UPPER TOWNSHIP - The Township Committee approved $300,000 at an emergency meeting Tuesday to build a new storm wall in Strathmere.

The committee will hire a contractor to build a short, square wall using wire baskets filled with rocks. These sections will be placed in front of a bulkhead on the island's north end, including a section of state property.
The committee hopes to begin work as early as today.
The committee declared an emergency, allowing officials to hire contractors without public bidding.

The township's move Tuesday blunted some of the sharpest criticism from Strathmere residents, who planned to hold a news conference to air grievances about what they perceived as an inadequate response to coastal flooding. On Sunday, the island was swamped as northeast winds and tidal flooding pushed waves over a new bulkhead, flooding parts of the island.
Instead, Strathmere resident Jack Monaghan said he was satisfied with the township's move.

"I think it's terrific," he said. "They're going out of their way to help an emergency situation."

His neighbor, George Welker, interjected.

"Jack, when your house washes away, I'll send you a card: 'Wish you were here,'" Welker said. "There hasn't been a proactive ounce in their bodies."

Waves crashed over the low bulkhead on the north end, sending sea spray 20 feet in the air at high tide.

Workers used a front-end loader to build a small rock wall along the curb of Neptune Avenue as the incoming tide splashed just feet away. The surging waves hurled baseball-sized rocks into the yards of oceanfront residents, who spent $250,000 to install the steel bulkhead this year.

The short rock wall will shore up the bulkhead and prevent waves from undermining this protective wall. It will, on a far smaller scale, be similar to the rock wall used in the Cape May Canal that divides Lower Township.

"It will be the best option. We'll have most of it in place. There is a northeaster predicted for the weekend," Mayor Richard Palombo said.

Palombo said the coastal erosion this year proceeded more rapidly than even the township's coastal experts predicted. The erosion has virtually eaten away an entire state park on the island's north end, a strand that once was home to colonies of nesting black skimmers and least terns.

No comments: