The following is from a presentation at last Tuesday’s Boardwalk Committee meeting. It provides an excellent insight into what Hurricane Sandy did to the area and the cost to repair the damage.

The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority and Atlantic City (in conjunction with other county, state and federal agencies) have prepared the following damage estimates:

  • Beach work and replenishment: $10 million
  • Housing impacts/repairs: $24 million
  • Loss of convention business revenue: $31 million
  • Repairs to Farley State Marina: $0.2 million
  • Damages to public buildings: $10 million
  • Subtotal: $75.2 million

The following storm-mitigation and flood-protection projects have been identified in the balance of the report:

  • Coastal evacuation route improvements West End/Route 40: $105 million
  • Inlet reconstruction: $44.3 million
  • Balance of Atlantic City mitigation: $88.2 million
  • Subtotal: $237.5 million

The report states that the geography of Atlantic City creates the potential for catastrophic flooding. Along the oceanfront, the recently completed federal and state beach-replenishment and enhancement project created an effective barrier during the Oct. 29 storm. But as Sandy slammed the East Coast, water rose along the inlet and back-days of Atlantic City. Along the inlet became free-flowing waterways that allowed significant amounts of water, sand and debris to flood this area unchecked by any bulkheads or seawalls.

Bids will be opened soon with construction slated for 2013 on a seawall designed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in coordination with Atlantic City. It would run from Oriental to Atlantic avenues and possibly to the next jetty north of Atlantic. A second Army Corps seawall is proposed but not fully designed or funded along the inlet between Madison and Melrose avenues. This section has no storm-protection structure and presents an opening for tidal inundation of the city.

The backbay area is the most vulnerable. Consisting of low-lying areas and littered with old and dilapidated or missing bulkhead, this section is vulnerable to significant flooding from high tides and wind-driven waves. An extensive system of new bulkhead along the perimeter of this area (from Gardner’s Basin to the city of Ventnor, including sections of Venice Park and Chelsea Heights) would create a “wall” around the city and significantly mitigate the potential for severe flooding, storm surge and loss of property.

An additional proposed component of the flood-mitigation program is the existing Baltic Avenue canal control structures. The city is in the process of designing and securing funding for the control structure at Fisherman’s Park, near Melrose Avenue, and also the control structure at Atlantis Avenue. The storm surge from Sandy caused the channel to backflow stormwater into the heart of the city through the storm drains connected to it, causing extreme flooding damage and impassable roadways.

Additional flood-mitigation projects listed in this report include:

Stormwater improvements to the Madison Avenue drainage area (including Resorts and the Taj Mahal casinos); reconstruction of the two Ohio Avenue bridges and Venice Park; stormwater improvements for Boardwalk Hall; and West End/Albany Avenue (Route40) intersection improvements. This flood-prone intersection is a key impediment to coastal evacuation for the western portion of Atlantic City, Ventnor and Margate.

Overall, the completion of the stormwater-control and -mitigation projects will significantly reduce the potential for catastrophic flooding in the city by effectively creating a wall around it.

This is quite an undertaking and is in dire need of implementation as soon as possible. Sens. Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez, U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo, state Sen. James Whelan and Assemblymen John Amodeo and Chris Brown have been advised of this report and have stated their whole-hearted support to help make it happen.

Holiday decorations

It’s been a long time since Atlantic City has been so well lit for the holidays as it is this year. As of this week, the total spent for these decorations is about $200,000, not $600,000 as had previously been announced.

If you would like to see and hear something special for the holidays, drive over to O’Donnell Park, adjacent to the Veterans Monument. As you drive into the city on the Black Horse Pike, park your car and walk into the park. Listen to the music and watch the lights dance. It is very unusual and quite a delightful sight. The Special Improvement Division and the city’s Public Works Department are to be commended for making Atlantic City sparkle for the holidays.

Pinky's Corner appears every Thursday in The Press. The Pinky's Corner radio show airs 4 to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays on WOND 1400-AM. His TV show, "WMGM Presents Pinky," airs 7:30 p.m. Saturdays on NBC TV40. E-mail Pinky at: pinky@pressofac.com