Delaware beach restoration saved many areas from bigger destruction during blizzard

Delaware officials believe they can start to rebuild beaches hit hard by the Blizzard of 2016 as early as the end of the week.

Governor Jack Markell, D-Delaware, took an aerial tour of the coastline Sunday along with Senator Tom Carper, D-Delaware, Congressman John Carney, D-Delaware, and several state elected and cabinet officials.

What they saw were beaches wiped out and heavily flooded areas such as Prime Hook Road. But, Markell said the damage could have been a lot worse had it not been for the investment in ongoing beach restoration projects.

He said where dunes had been constructed in Broadkill, damage wasn’t as severe as the south end of that project where dunes hadn’t been put in place.

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Tony Pratt, who oversees the dune restoration projects for DNREC said replenishment efforts could begin by the end of the week. “We look to see when the westerly winds begin to take some of the sand and pulls it back in place to form the beginnings of new dunes.”

NewsWorks content partner, Coastal Point reports on their Facebook page that Bethany Beach was hit with storm surges that at times reached 27 feet. Winds registered close to 50 miles per hour. The beach has been cut off from the boardwalk because of damage there. There were parts of Route 1 cut off to the north for most of the day. DelDOT reported the roadway had been totally reopened just after 7pm Sunday.

The emergency operations center in Sussex County is now closed. The Indian River School District has cancelled classes Monday so that more cleanup can continue.

Carper pointed out what we are seeing with this storm is the symptom of what is going on around the world. The root cause, he added, is that sea levels are rising while Delaware is sinking. “A couple weeks ago, it was 70 degrees.”

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