Dewey Beach Shoreline Stabilization Project to Reduce Read Avenue Flooding
DEWEY BEACH, Del. - The Shoreline Stabilization Project will help keep Read Avenue from flooding when the bay rises. A 3-and-a-half foot dune will be constructed and a new underground pipe with a better valving system will be installed. This is a partnership between the town, Center for the Inland Bays, and the Delaware Department of Transportation.
Phil Winkler and his dog Happy live on Read Avenue about 100 feet from the bay. Their home hasn't flooded since 1962, but water lying on the street outside is routine. Happy isn't happy at all about walking in the water and Winkler expresses several frustrations that flooding brings.
"You have to park your car a couple blocks away to keep it out of the water," says Winkler.
Town Manager Scott Koenig says last week's coastal flooding is mostly gone and that the amount of water in the road was surprising because it didn't come from any rain.
"The sunny day flooding I think is a little bit disorienting because the weather was absolutely beautiful last week, yet on the bayside we had flooding from the bay almost all the way up to Route One on four or five different streets," Koenig says.
Wooden survey sticks on the small beach at the end of Read Avenue are a sign of hope. The Shoreline Stabilization Project will soon help keep the water at bay.
"It includes a small dune construction," says Koenig. "It includes construction of some valving to allow storm water discharge into the bay but prevent water from the bay from coming back into the storm water system."
Koenig says the dune may not be tall enough to prevent flooding every time the bay rises. If it had been constructed sooner, he says there may not have been as much water in the road on Wednesday and Thursday but that Friday's flood may have been difficult to prevent.
"There were several tide cycles that the improvement that's proposed will help reduce or maybe even eliminate that type of flooding," says Koenig. "The tide cycle we saw probably on Friday or Friday night will exceed the height of the proposed dune."
Koenig says the contractor's schedule will also be dependent on the tides. "The installation of the chamber and the valving that's associated with the project, he's trying to time that installation with a low tide event," he says. "Some of the project is slightly conditioned on having low tides."
For the Winkler's and everyone else who lives on Read Avenue, the project is still a relief.
"It's very rare for the water to get over three and a half feet," says Winkler.
Koenig says the town has put in some grant money for flood prevention on other streets as well, including Dagsworthy Street at Sunset Park.
"Hopefully we'll be able to do some improvements there that are not going to be exactly the same as Read Avenue, but will mirror some of the positive effects that we're expecting."