Emergency Steel Wall Construction Underway to Protect North Wildwood Beach Patrol Headquarters


In a race against coastal erosion, construction crews in North Wildwood, New Jersey, are swiftly fortifying the area around the beach patrol headquarters on 15th Avenue with a steel bulkhead. This $400,000 project aims to shield the building from immediate wave damage, as the dunes in front have been steadily eroded by relentless waves.

Mayor Patrick Rosenello expressed, "So this bulkhead will stop any immediate wave damage to the beach patrol headquarters." The project, granted emergency authorization by the state Department of Environmental Protection due to severe erosion, is slated for completion within the week.

For the past year, officials have been closely monitoring this vulnerable section of the shoreline. Recent relentless northeast winds coupled with a full moon event last Friday led to unprecedented erosion, according to Mayor Rosenello. He remarked, "Unfortunately, the last 10 days we've had northeast winds blowing for almost 10 days straight. A full moon last Friday, we experienced erosion that I've never seen in my lifetime."

North Wildwood has faced challenges in replenishing its beaches in recent years, at times conflicting with the NJDEP. Previously, the city transported sand from Wildwood's expansive beaches to the north. However, officials now assert that the beach is too narrow for such operations.

In the previous year, the city faced legal action from the state for unauthorized interventions. The current emergency project has been greenlit by the state to safeguard the beach patrol headquarters.

Mayor Rosenello holds hope for further development, stating, "In the short term, we're going to protect ourselves with bulkheading. In the long term, we're waiting on our partners from the Army Corps and the NJDEP."

Sun-soaked beachgoers on Monday expressed their desire for a lasting resolution. Jim Levin from North Wildwood noted, "It's been an aggressive fall with the storms coming in and no replenishment of the beaches this year, making it worse." 

Gene Deppen from Oliver Beach, Maryland, a regular visitor to North Wildwood, added, "It's like a whole different world. We didn't realize the storm had affected it so much."

Collaborative efforts between the Army Corps of Engineers and the NJ DEP are underway for a broader dune-building initiative encompassing the Wildwoods, including North Wildwood. Nevertheless, the process is pending real estate easements, with construction anticipated to commence in approximately 18 to 24 months.