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Virginia Beach plans to aid flood-prone sections

VIRGINIA BEACH

The city is looking to alleviate flooding in several neighborhoods south of Shore Drive that are notoriously some of the first to go underwater when a storm hits.

The first part of an initial $1.5 million project, the placement of five check valves in the Lynnhaven Colony area, is done. Next is the building of three sluice gates along Cape Henry Ditch designed to bar abnormally high tides from flooding adjacent neighborhoods, said Mike Mundy, water resource program manager for the city.

Public works will hold an informal open house on the flood gates tonight. Construction is scheduled to begin this fall and wrap up within a year, Mundy said.

The gates are planned on Cape Henry Trail at the intersections of West Great Neck Road, North Great Neck Road and First Landing Lane.

The two phases of the project should provide protection for 40 houses, 48 garages and nearly 7,500 feet of roadway, according to a presentation submitted to the City Council this week.

But the gates will have limitations and will be effective only at tidal elevations of up to 5 feet, Mundy said. They will be monitored to prevent heavy rainfall from causing flooding when they're closed, he added.

In the long term, the city and its residents will have to take more drastic measures to fortify the neighborhood, which is on a sliver of land between the Chesapeake Bay and the Lynnhaven River, Mundy said. Options could include raising homes or building a New Orleans-style flood wall, but a project of that magnitude could cost more than $130 million, according to the presentation.

Public Works is recommending that the city next undertake a $71 million project that would include a pump station and other efforts to discharge floodwater through the southern part of the neighborhood into Long Creek.

The five phases of the project could take two decades to complete.

Kathy Adams, 757-222-5155, kathy.adams@pilotonline.com

Posted to: Local Government News Virginia Beach

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