By Ian Bush
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Monday marks a half-year since Hurricane Sandy hit the Jersey shore. As summer — and storm season — approaches, some towns are looking into expensive new ways to protect their coastlines and a local expert says they shouldn’t wait much longer.
“Everybody loves the shore and wants to be on the shore, but we have to understand and be accountable for that risk,” says Villanova civil and environmental engineering professor Robert Traver.
He spent a lot of time working with the Army Corps of Engineers in New Orleans after Katrina. Now, he’s looking at how to manage and mitigate flooding threats.
“How high do you build a dune? There’s always a bigger storm, so do you spend the money building the dune a little higher or do you spend the money improving ways for people to leave, or hardening sites so if they do get flooded, you can recover quickly?” Traver explains.
He says it’s cheaper to address these questions now than it is to fix problems after they happen, but with dunes and rock jetties changing the shore landscape, government and homeowners often aren’t on the same page.