Delaware officials say despite the multiple millions of dollars in damage done to the state’s beaches, the storm impact could have been much worse.
Delaware’s beaches have been hammered over the past few days as the remnants of Tropical Storm Ida brought soaking rain, strong wind, and high tides to the coast.
Delaware’s top environmental official says it will take $15 – 20 million to repair the damage that’s been done to the dunes at Delaware’s beaches. Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Collin O’Mara says despite the significant erosion, the damage from this week’s storm could have been much worse.
“The dune work that Delaware has done over the past decade has really mitigated a lot of the impact. The dunes are critically important because they provide that friction, and they provide that buffer, that when the waves come in that are really high, they absorb that energy and prevent that from flooding the individual communities.”
He says the beaches will need several million cubic yards of additional sand to restore the dunes. The state has already been in contact with the Army Corps of Engineers to determine where the sand is needed and how quickly the restoration can get underway.
The state of Delaware is currently involved in a major dispute over the Corps’ plans to move forward with dredging the Delaware River despite the state’s objections. But O’Mara says that will not hinder the cooperation between the state and the Corps when it comes to beach replenishment. “When there’s a crisis everyone comes together. We may have a disagreement with the Corps on one issue, but on 99 out of 100 other issues, we work perfectly with them.”
Delaware transportation officials say Route 1 between Dewey Beach and Bethany Beach will remain closed through most of the weekend. Crews are working to remove three feet of sand and other debris that have covered the road. DelDOT workers will evaluate the Indian River Inlet Bridge once the storm passes to determine if there’s been any damage to the bridge footers. Construction on the bridge’s replacement has been halted due to the storm. DelDOT officials say all equipment at that site has been secured and the new construction has not been affected. Drivers are urged to use Route 26 as a detour in the area of Route 1 near the bridge.