NJ - New seawall in the works for Cape May
CAPE MAY — Beach Avenue ends with a concrete and stone wall at Wilmington Avenue, topped with a rolling sand dune covered in goldenrod and dune grass.
“The water used to break right on that stone, before beach replenishment,” Mayor Zack Mullock said during a recent town hall meeting. More recently, high tides have washed over the dune path in that area, as demonstrated by a photo Mullock showed at the meeting. He outlined a plan to increase the height of the seawall, with plenty of federal help.
As proposed, a new seawall in that section of town would rise at least 11 feet above base flood elevation, increasing long-term protection from coastal storms.
The original proposal for the seawall was basically a big block wall. Since then, Mullock said, the proposal has been amended with aesthetic improvements, to better blend with the existing environment.
An August 2022, report for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers cited the visual impact of the seawall, and steps that could alleviate it.
“Since the concrete cap associated with this project will increase the overall seawall height which may result in a visual impact, the landward face of the concrete cap would be textured to create a sand-looking façade so that it looks more like a natural feature and blends with the current environment,” the report reads.
As proposed, the new elevated seawall would run 350 feet. Plans call for the seawall to be topped with a 3-footsection that can be sat on, serving to add height to the wall to increase storm protection.
The federal report includes images of the area being washed over in a storm in 1991, with no beach at all at Wilmington Avenue.
Additional sand is on the way for the area, with the Army Corps recently announcing a $16.2 million contract with Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company of Illinois to add a half-million cubic yards of sand to beaches at the Coast Guard Training Center and elsewhere in Cape May.
In this instance, the federal government is set to pick up 90% of the check, between the Coast Guard and the Army Corps, with 10% covered by the state.