By Oren Liebermann, Ian Bush
BRIGANTINE, N.J. (CBS) — Six months have come and gone since Hurricane Sandy hit the Jersey shore, and in some places the recovery and rebuilding is nearly complete a month before Memorial Day.
Slowly but surely we’re returning to normalcy,” said Rip Reynolds, Owner of Laguna Bar and Restaurant in Brigantine. “Realtors have told use the summer is going to be good. Weekly rentals are up. We’re hopeful for a good season.”
Some visitors have already started to show up in the shoulder season.
“When we decided to come here for vacationing, that’s one of the things we wanted to just see,” said Randy C. of Baltimore, “see how the recovery is going here.
I think they’ll be ready,” said his wife Holly. “I think it will be just fine. And what’s not ready, people will, you know, forgive.”
But no one will forget the 29th of October, not after the damage caused by Sandy.
And as summer — and storm season — approaches, some shore towns are looking into expensive new ways to protect their coastlines. A local expert says they shouldn’t wait much longer.
“Everybody loves the shore and wants to be on the shore,” said Villanova civil and environmental engineering professor Robert Traver, “but we have to understand and be accountable for that risk.”
Traver spent a lot of time working with the Army Corps of Engineers in New Orleans after Hurricane 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,” he said. “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 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.