N.J. Town Considers 'Radical Surgery' to Prevent Future Floods

With Galveston, Texas as their model, city leaders in the Jersey Shore town of Highlands are considering whether to raise the entire downtown as a bulwark against storm damage and rising seas.
February 27, 2013, 8am PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Peter Applebome looks at the long shot solution that officials in Highlands, New Jersey view as the best option to save their town: "...Highlands officials are increasingly focused on one bit of radical surgery from the past and the idea that their best option might be to import perhaps 3.5 million cubic yards of dredged material and elevate the entire downtown, rather than face an eternity of flooded streets and regular disruption."

They're looking to history as the model for a project that could cost upwards of $25 million. After more than 6,000 people perished in the great hurricane of 1900, Galveston, Texas was raised as much as 17 feet.

“'Right now, there’s no endgame,' said Frank Nolan, mayor of this community of 5,000 residents where 1,250 of the 1,500 homes and virtually all the businesses were destroyed or badly damaged by the hurricane. 'We’re still going to flood. We’re still going to have businesses that are not going to make it.'"

“We believe the only way to fix this town long-term is to raise the town.”

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Published on Friday, February 22, 2013 in The New York Times
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