Some New Jersey towns are considering the use of steel sea walls, to protect against damage from future severe weather.

New Jersey towns consider sea walls to protect against future storms

A comprehensive continuity of operations plan is crucial for towns of all sizes to have. With many New Jersey towns still recovering from Hurricane Sandy, many are beginning to consider new options for ensuring that their homes and businesses remain protected against any future storms. 

According to the Associated Press, some East Coast areas are toying with the idea of steel sea walls. The extra protection would provide a barrier between the boardwalks and the shoreline in order to stop devastating storm surges from breaking through. However, some environmentalists and scientists state that hard barriers actually worsen erosion as waves scour sand at the base of the walls.

Jon Miller, a professor of coastal engineering at New Jersey’s Stevens Institute of technology, told the AP that sea walls are only successful if protected by a constantly nourished and replenished beach between the walls and the surf. Otherwise, it just becomes a vertical wall and accelerates erosion, he said.

Some towns, though, are willing to consider all options. For example, Spring Lake is rebuilding its 2-mile-long boardwalk for the second time in little over a year – Tropical Storm Irene first destroyed it in 2011, then Hurricane Sandy did it again in 2012.

“We’re looking at what we can do to make it safer going forward,” Spring Lake Mayor Jennifer Naughton, told the news source. The town is considering various options, she said, including the possibility of a sea wall. Naughton estimated that option, though, could cost as much as $18 million. 

Working with a firm that specializes in continuity of operations planning can help towns of all sizes to ensure that they are up-to-date on how to keep residents safe during severe weather. Everything from evacuation routes to sturdy barriers could help areas stay protected for a number of events.