Beach erosion from the weekend storm was extreme in parts of North Wildwood, but a recently installed bulkhead saved the city from disaster, its mayor said Monday.

“The bulkhead was just installed within the last 90 days,” Mayor Patrick Rosenello said of a structure between Third and Sixth avenues that is part of a $10 million project to extend the existing sea wall. “Had we not (installed it), we would have lost a portion of JFK Boulevard and possibly some of the homes behind it. We literally got that bulkhead in in the nick of time.”

Flooding and beach erosion continued to be an issue Monday, two days after a massive nor’easter slammed the East Coast.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is still assessing the damage to its completed beach-replenishment and dune-building projects along the New Jersey coast, spokesman Steve Rochette said.

“We are getting folks out now to see how things fared,” Rochette said. “Early indications are there’s been minor erosion for the most part. In some areas moderate.”

Rochette said there was no real dune damage on Absecon Island. But reports aren’t back yet for Long Beach Island, Brigantine and some of the areas farther south, he said.

Even on the mainland, flooding continued.

In Absecon, South Shore Road, Ohio Avenue and Faunce Landing Road were closed for hours due to flooding, police said.

North Wildwood is partnering with the state on the project to extend its existing seawall from Third to Sixth avenue, said Rosenello. The state is paying 75 percent of the cost. He said the beach in that area has lost about 500 feet in the last three years.

The city is reconsidering extending the seawall farther south to Seventh Avenue, after the experience with the recent nor’easter made it clear how precarious the situation is in the area, the mayor said.

The Wildwoods are the only beaches in New Jersey that aren’t yet under a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers rebuilding and replenishment plan, Rosenello said.

Wildwood’s beaches, at the south end of the island they share, are large and getting larger as sand drifts to the south and collects on them.

The northern ends of barrier islands are always hardest hit by storms, especially nor’easters, and will always struggle more to keep sand on their beaches, according to research by the Stockton University Coastal Research Center in Port Republic.

Rosenello said the beach in front of the new bulkheading will need to be rebuilt, but the first priority is getting the sea wall finished. The project to put tons of large boulders in front of the bulkhead will take months to complete. The boulders will dissipate the wave energy, the mayor said.

“We are waiting for the U.S. Army Corps’ islandwide project, which was supposed to be under construction in 2018,” said Rosenello. But the project, to bring sand from the huge beaches of the Wildwoods to North Wildwood, has been delayed until 2020, he said.

North Wildwood will ask the Army Corps to do something before then to rebuild some of its beaches, the mayor said.

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Contact: 609-272-7219 Twitter @MichelleBPost

In my first job after college got paid to read the New York Times and summarize articles for an early online data base. First reporting job was with The Daily Record in Parsippany. I have also worked in nonprofits, and have been with The Press since 1990.

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