Shoreline Stabilization project in Dewey Beach aims to reduce flooding

DEWEY BEACH, Del. – In Dewey Beach, work is underway to reduce flooding.

Phil Winkler, a homeowner in Dewey said, “Well the flooding is pretty bad here and it probably happens 8 to 12 times a year.”

Every year, Dewey Beach floods on both the bay side and the ocean side.

Marianna Walch, the Science and Restoration Coordinator for the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays said, “It’s on a very thin barrier island and it’s being squeezed by water on both sides.”

Some streets are worse than others.

Scott Koenig, the Town Manager said, “There’s probably eight roads in Dewey Beach that have at times significant back bay flooding.”

We’re told Read Avenue in Dewey Beach is the worst street in terms of flooding.

Walch said, “It’s been a real challenge for the residents here who, although they have raised their houses, they can’t get to their houses because they can’t drive up to them.”

Phil Winkler is one of those residents.

Winkler said, “We just park a block away the land slopes up towards the north and the west and it rarely floods up there.”

There’s good news for homeowners like Phil, though.

The Town of Dewey Beach, DelDOT and The DE Center for the Inland Bays are teaming up to reduce flooding on Read Avenue.

Bob Collins, the Program Manager with the DE Center for the Inland Bays said, “It’s the Read Avenue Retrofit. It’s a project that’s addressing both storm water and tidal flooding here in Dewey Beach.”

Right now, crews are installing tidal gates which should significantly decrease flooding.

Collins said, “What it does is the tidal gates can be closed during periods of high water so that the bay water doesn’t come in on this side.”

On top of the gates, crews are replacing old storm-water pipes.

Walch said, “So we’re putting in bigger pipes as well as tide gates which are basically check valves that only allow the water to flow one way out into the bay that will help prevent some of the water from the bay that’s now entering the streets through the pipes.”

Crews will also be installing a living shoreline and a three foot dune at the end of Read Avenue to help with both the environment and flooding.

Homeowners tell us they are overjoyed about all these changes because they think it will make a real difference.

Winkler said, “I think it’s going to improve things dramatically to where it will rarely flood now.”

We’re told the bulk of work on this project should be done by the end of the week.

This project is just the start of the town’s Storm Water Master Plan. Once this particular project is completed, the town will likely repeat it in some other areas if it is successful.

Categories: Delaware, Local News