Central Avenue Road Projects Expected to Address Flooding in Ship Bottom

Mar 20, 2019
File Photo by: Ryan Morrill Central Ave. in Ship Bottom.

A portion of Central Avenue in Ship Bottom is getting a makeover – the kind that will help ease some of the flooding concerns on the county-owned road that runs parallel to Long Beach Boulevard and helps alleviate traffic on the Island’s main thoroughfare during the busy summer season.

“Our design for the re-profiling of 28th (street) and Central (Avenue) has been completed and the project is out for bid,” Ocean County Engineer John Ernst said recently.

Under the design, the existing drainage system will be completed replaced, he said. An initial shaping of the roadway is expected to begin prior to the start of the summer season, according to Ernst.

“The final resurfacing to raise the centerline crown of the roadways will occur in the fall,” he said, noting the delay will allow for the road to settle before the road is paved with its final surface.

Ernst said his department is also continuing its design of a pump station for the area. Installation of the pump is expected to follow the Central Avenue resurfacing in the fall, he said. The pump station is expected to help move water out of the flood-prone area. Years ago, borough officials addressed the issue by installing tie valves, which force water to flow in only one direction. Although that has helped, water can be trapped in the pipes for a period of time before being flushed out.

The projects are part of an overarching plan to address tidal flooding in one of the most flood-prone areas in the borough and on the barrier island. They began shortly before last Memorial Day weekend when the county road department raised the crown of Long Beach Boulevard from 24th Street in Ship Bottom to 33rd Street in neighboring Long Beach Township. The roadway was raised between 6 and 8 inches, depending on the area of the road, in an effort to alleviate flooding in the center turn lane.

Late last year, the county undertook the second solution to address flooding when it replaced a washed-away berm at the end of Central Avenue where it intersects with West 28th Street with a bulkhead. The bulkhead project required approval by the state Department of Environmental Protection.

“It’s worked out well,” Mayor William Huelsenbeck said earlier this year when asked about the bulkhead project at the end of Central Avenue.

Historically, West 28th Street and Central Avenue where it intersects with Long Beach Boulevard has been one of the most flood-prone areas in the borough. It’s also one of the most traffic-clogged arteries on LBI, feeding all traffic to the south end of the Island without the benefit of a secondary ocean road for use during flood events.

Currently, more times than not, the roadway is closed due to flooding from about 23rd Street to West 28th Street. In Long Beach Township and Beach Haven, motorists are often redirected to the higher-elevated oceanside north-south streets when the Boulevard is impassable. However, a contiguous oceanside route doesn’t exist in Ship Bottom; all the traffic converges at the worst area for flooding in the borough.

When the road is open, drivers traveling too quickly through floodwater create a wake that reaches homes that might not otherwise be harmed. Ship Bottom officials last year passed an ordinance creating a no-wake zone on borough streets.

— Gina G. Scala


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