The Ocean Meets Rt. 1

Filed in National by on October 30, 2012


Looks to me like the new shoreline is on the shoulder of Northbound Route 1. I imagine that Rt. 1 in this area is going to be closed for quite some time, as Rt. 1 would flood at every high tide.

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  1. Andy says:

    That new shoreline won’t last long the old one will be restored with beach replenishment

  2. Miscreant says:

    It’s always been a very vulnerable area, and this happens fairly often. In the off season, they pump sand from the south side to the north side on a continuous basis. I believe you can see a part of the pump station in the upper left corner of the picture. The dunes are more resilient than one may think. A couple of bulldozers, and some plants and fencing will have it looking like new in a few days.

  3. Tom McKenney says:

    They should open another inlet. IRI carries an incredible amount of water, give it some relief and help aerate the water in Rehoboth Bay

  4. SussexAnon says:

    This isn’t just a dredging problem. We have been losing rocks off the end of the north side jetty for years. Shorter jetty, less sand stays on the north side, you end up with what you see here.

    The average amount of sand that was usually pumped from south to north was reduced significantly during the last 2 years during bridge construction. This produced less beach on the north side. The storm had less distance to travel to get to the dune and road.

    The above photo also disproves the “dunes are more resiliant than people think” A 35 foot high dune was there to the left. It was wiped out along with the old rte 1 bridge approach.

    Don’t call it “beach replenishment” that is a happy-go-lucky term thought up by dredging lobbyists to make people feel like its a good idea to pump sand up on the beach over and over and think its going to solve a problem.

  5. SussexWatcher says:

    For the anti-replenishers, I’m curious: What’s your solution? And don’t say “Keeping people from living so close to the water.” That’s not the issue here – there are no houses in this area, just open beach. If replenishment works only until the next nor’easter, what is the practical, tested solution to protect Route 1?

  6. cassandra m says:

    Beach is not meant to be a permanent geological feature. It is meant to be a zone that absorbs the energy of stuff like a nor’easter, leaving the land relatively intact. Treating the beach as a permanent feature is always a losing and expensive game.

    And I don’t go over this bridge much, but you can elevate anything — the bridge, the approach, the road approaching — which *might* get you out of the sand pumping, but certainly would have been more expensive.

    The first question I think, is how much do you want to pay to avoid what is happening in this picture?

  7. Miscreant says:

    “If replenishment works only until the next nor’easter, what is the practical, tested solution to protect Route 1?”

    Remember, it’s not just a road. There are numerous people, businesses, and jobs that depend on the road and bridge. And, there is a rather large privately owned community on the south side of the bridge, behind the campground. I believe the road has enough value alone as an efficient way to travel north/south to justify its maintenance. Not to mention the area north and south of the bridge is a state park which provides recreational opportunities for millions of people annually and is, by far, the biggest revenue generator of our State Park system.

    Solution? Perhaps we should make it a toll road. It worked for the Rt. 1 Bypass, which ultimately cost local small businesses countless millions. But we should only charge non-residents, and assholes from New Castle County.
    Problem solved.

    You’re welcome.

  8. @Miscreant–

    I’m an asshole. I also live in NCC. My GF lives in PA, but owns a house in Dewey. Will I be subject to your “asshole” tax when I visit Dewey?

  9. Miscreant says:

    Yes, unless you marry her.

  10. That’s in the works, but keep it quiet.

  11. Aoine says:

    if all the assholes that came to Dewey paid an asshole tax – well then we could build a stairway to heaven

    or any other fantasy you could dream of

    there are that many – and they are not just from NCC 😉

  12. Miscreant says:


  13. SussexWatcher says:

    Cass – you clearly aren’t familiar with this area. There is very little “land” to protect. The highway is the center of a thin strip of land betwixt bay and ocean. Your buffer concept doesn’t work with this.

  14. Miscreant says:

    “That’s in the works, but keep it quiet.”

    It’ll be our secret. Welcome too the great south.

  15. Miscreant says:

    “The highway is the center of a thin strip of land betwixt bay and ocean.”

    A bit of an understatement. Ever notice how it widens at the bridge? In that area there is one of Delaware’s largest, and most successful marinas, one of Delaware’s most profitable campgrounds (soon to be two more when restored from bridge construction) as mentioned before a large private community on the south side, nature trails (Burton’s island), a guarded swimming beach and bath house on the south ocean side, and one of Delaware’s few designated surfing areas on the north side beach.

    Before you get to the inlet, there are no less than six recreation areas, including a guarded swimming beach with bath house just south of Dewey. There are also several recreational areas dedicated to surf fishing, clamming, wading, and sail boarding, etc., on both sides of the ‘road’ for the next five miles.

  16. Aoine says:

    Miscreant, et al – check out Fenwick Island from the air Today this afternoon

    I think Kavips made a whoopsie

  17. Aoine says:

    Miscreant – you forgot to mention the Coast Guard station there

    as wel as the lifesaving station historical building that does interpretations

    unless you included it as a recretional station

    great little shop too with nice Xams ornaments – on sale cheap in January!

  18. anonymous says:

    Good question SW. One thinks people are trying to solve the endless renurishment problem at shores around the world. Some island people are just relocating. relocating people in ALaska. State surely must be working on plans. Which areas to try to save, which to let go. Who will pay. And of course there will be those who will stick with denial. If not denial of what is happening – denial of why it is happening and who should pay the costs. Tough times ahead. Of course the least costly overall solution would be to reduce the cause – the over abundance of GHGs – something politicians aren’t mentioning. The wasted time only increases the costs. Worst is that we wait too long. Game over.

  19. Miscreant says:

    Yes, I did forget to mention those. Thanks.

  20. Aoine says:

    😉 sure

    spent my day doing the same as you – not sexy delivering that kind of news

    However – its nice to be granted access coz you’re local and the dudes with the guns know ya

  21. Jason330 says:

    Seeing this picture again on the cover of the News Journal, I have two words for Del Dot – Ferry Service.

  22. cassandra m says:

    Your buffer concept doesn’t work with this.

    You clearly aren’t reading. I’m not talking about a buffer. I’m talking about elevating the whole bit — approach road, approach ramp. It would be disruptive in a million different ways and certain activities close by would likely be sacrificed but it is certainly an option. An expensive option, but an option nonetheless.

  23. meatball says:

    Let’s not forget why that all became state land to begin with

  24. Miscreant says:

    The erosion problem at north side the IR bridge is compounded by another man-made structure-the jetty. Since the prevailing littoral drift (current) is north to south in this area, the effect is that sand accumulates on the south side, and erodes from the north side. To add to that, the outgoing tidal current from the inlet funnels sand to deep waters. That’s why the sand pumping station was constructed in 1990. It is a man-made problem, and can only be mitigated by a man-made solution.

    The new bridge, including the entry ramps, is already over twice as long, and significantly higher, than the previous bridge. Ironically, it is positioned roughly over the same location as the original bridge that was wiped out in a storm. One must question the sanity of the idiots who built the second bridge (now being removed) closer to the ocean.

    Any long term solution, such as elevating the highway, will be costly. Unfortunately, if you keep elevating the road, I can envision a long ass bridge like the one to Key West. Or, they can construct a breakwater jetty, such as the ones near the Cape Henlopen point, to attenuate the the littoral current and wave action to protect the north side. However, in my experience in that area, as soon as you shore up one area, breaches in the dunes can occur at other points along the highway. The north side of the inlet isn’t the only area that suffers dune erosion during storms.

    It can all be paid for by a toll or, what Mr. LeBay coined, an asshole tax. Or, perhaps we can use some of that money that FEMA magically acquires out of nowhere, to spring for it.

    In the interest of public safety, and the greater good, I’ll waive my consulting fees.

  25. cassandra m says:

    Or you could make the access structure a tunnel. Really.Expensive.

  26. geezer says:

    The problems of beach flooding and sand erosion predate any talk of climate change. It has more to do with where we built these beach towns. Despite what anonymous says, tourism is a multi-billion-dollar industry in Delaware. The sand pumping will continue until it’s physically impossible to do it anymore.

  27. anonymous says:

    Sand may be a relatively cheap product especially when gotten from the area but really, how firm is a pile of sand. When the sand fails (and it does and always will,) the responsibility is passed on to the public. When will spending money on bulldozing sand around be seen as a useless endevour. Sure, sand meets a temporary need, but replacing it again and again and again and again – needs to be viewed as foolish. Hundreds of milions have been spent on renurishing that is long gone. I’m not a civil engineer but what about rock pilings such as east of Lewes out in the bay/ocean. What about concrete. What about another inlet or perhaps inlets of reduced widths or changed design. And what about the looming flooding problems of the overdeveloped inland bays. How will the inand bays water intake be limited. When will they start considering berms, levies, seawalls etc to control the flow of sea water. Consider also the looming problem of salt water intrution to drinking water and farming lands. The only thing sand is doing is wasting money and precious time while pretending the problem is solved. A structure built of sand to face rising sea levels – foolish. Foolish, dangerous and the most costly waste of time. And something no one mentions, the over abundance of GHGs, hello Delaware,
    the coal state – the state of DEnial. Why mention all this now? Because you are getting a tiny sample of the next generation’s future. What should one do – crank up one’s coal powered heat and say -let the kids deal with it.

    Actually, the only thing a person can do is vote the tea partiers out of office. Every last one of them.

  28. liberalgeek says:

    I’m not sure that elevating the road buys much. the highway runs North-South, and the shoreline is migrating East-West. At some point in the not-too-distant-future that road will be off-shore. The inter-coastal highway?

  29. Jason330 says:

    The answer my friends is Ferry Service. There is no bridge to Martha’s Vineyard and they are doing okay.

  30. SussexAnon says:

    There used to be a ferry that ran from Rehoboth/Dewey to Bethany. That was a LONG time ago (1900’s). Visitors would take the train to Rehoboth then board a boat to Bethany.

  31. cassandra_m says:

    Martha’s Vineyard is a good model — and ferry service might be the cheapest choice of all. With a cost borne largely by its users.

  32. anonymous says:

    Actually, the aftermath photo is a disappointing but great photograph capturing the forces that have meet at the foot of a new 150 million dollar bridge. Check the location of the sand pumping station (other side of inlet.) See the pumped dunes spread across the new approach holding up man’s progress, the deminishing waves still lapping the roadway. Imagine the forces of the incoming waves, the power or powerlessness of receding tides at the footprint of previous failed bridges. The towering supports, above the scene, the emergency vehicles lining the closed lanes. The sea level meeting the road level. How do you do. The dead plant life stuck in the sand where traffic was to travel. The workman on foot, front and center where the forces of man and nature have meet to see who will claim the right of way.

  33. Miscreant says:

    That was a hilariously over-dramatic description of an average storm blowout. Seriously, I’ve seen far worse down there. Fortunately, it didn’t terrify me enough for me to wax poetic about it.

  34. Aoine says:

    Really. The ferry is a good option and they are doing fine….

    Hmmmmmm when was the last time you all went to MV or nantucket in january?.

    Think the ferry runs in high winds. Tall seas or when the harbor freezes over. I happen to have text alerts on my phone regarding the WOODS HOLE/ marthas vineyard steamship authority. And the fast boat service. At least 3 times a month especially in the off season the ferrys are cancelled.

    Nice ….. And you all think this is a viable option.

    Then there is the boat out of service due to mechanical failure. And the incredible cost especially to Nantucket – round trip from the mainland to nantucket and back.

    Not to complain. I am a realist. And one needs to see ALL the options. Just because the boat is running when you r there does not mean the boat always runs. Then the bitching starts……..Waaaaaaa
    Not only that. But when the boat is cancelled. It can be cancelled for days. And days. And days. And all those stranded folks start complaining

    And please don’t tell me i don’t know what i am talking about- islands, hurricanes, ferry things of that ilk i am very familiar with

    Jason and Cass. Trust me. Its is NOT. Cheap. At all

    450.00 round trip to nantucket for a car- peak season car 17-20′

    155.00. Roundtrip Woods hole round trip peak season 17-20′

    The Coast Guard makes ice breakers for a reason but 10 hours on a ferry for a normally one or two hour ride only to be turned around to go back to port and never getting to ur destination for days……not fun

  35. Aoine says:

    @Miscreant – i dont think anonymous gets it.

    In man v nature nature always wins- when she wants to win

    The rest of the time she gives us the illusion that man wins

    On the days nature wins, the only attitude to have is – ok today you win but tomorrow is another day

    No one gets bent out of shape- we live here we get it. Its all OK – because there is always tomorrow. And we know we are not going to win

    But playing the game is fun and watching the city dweller fighting to win the battle is hysterical

  36. cassandra_m says:

    Aoine, I know the price of the Cape Cods ferries (and their reliability) WAY better than you do.

    The thing about the ferry is that no matter the price, it is paid by the people who use it. So that when I use that ferry, I pay for it — not the taxpayers of MA. Besides, the Cape Cod ferries are also all ocean-going ferries with a minimum trip of 1.5 hours. AND when it isn’t available, it isn’t the problem of all of the taxpayers of MA. I just have to schedule accordingly. And there is a year round population up there who live with that just fine. Besides, the Cape Cod ferries are also all ocean-going ferries with a minimum trip of 1.5 hours. The IR bridge was unavailable for a few days because it was inundated with sand and water. This won’t be the last.

    What you want is an option that allows you perfect access and egress from that area without ever having to pay the price for either the compromise of the current location of that bridge OR for the inconvience of the currently imperfect solution being out of commission from time to time.

  37. anonymous says:

    No, it’s a hilarious description of an engineering failure.

    The storm. however, was no laughing matter.

  38. pandora says:

    As a summer resident of Fenwick, it isn’t like the IR bridge is the only way to get back and forth from Rehoboth to Bethany/Fenwick. There is a back way. Not as convenient, but just as effective and most times far more pleasant.

  39. pandora says:

    Also, I have taken the Long Island Ferry – which is pretty flippin’ reasonable and functions as a daily commute to Connecticut for many Long Islanders. So maybe citing Nantucket as an example isn’t the best comparison – no offense to Delaware beaches, but… come on! 😉

  40. cassandra_m says:

    Good point, P. The Long Island ferry or maybe the Staten Island Ferry is really more of the scale we’re talking about here.

  41. Aoine says:

    Cass- with all do respect -in don’t think you do know it better than i do

    I lived there year round for many many years- my mom was born there and my grandparents spent their lives there

    I am a native, a local. I live here because i cannot afford to live there.

    One of my family members was a member of the Board for many years- they do get some state/ fed taxpayer monies….. Is is not completely payer run

    Just as the island airport is not funded by user funds.

    These are just two recent grants

  42. Aoine says:

    (g) To receive and accept from any federal agency grants for any purpose for or in aid of the acquisition or operation of the steamship line, or any vessels, equipment and facilities thereof, and to receive and to accept contributions from any source of either money, property, labor or other things of value, to be held, used and applied only for the purposes for which such grants and contributions may be made; and further, to be authorized as a designated agency to receive directly federal participation under Section 139 of Title 23 of the United States Code, withstanding the provisions of section one of chapter seven hundred and sixty-eight of the acts of nineteen hundred and sixty-nine and to be further authorized to match directly any such federal funds as required under such federal participation; and to do all acts and things necessary or convenient to carry out the powers expressly granted in this act.

    I said i knew what i was taking about………

  43. pandora says:

    Seriously, can we stop comparing the Delaware beaches (which I love) to Nantucket?

  44. cassandra_m says:

    Aoine — I know it can be really hard to know that there are people out there with plenty of their own expertise, but I spent decent stretches of my summers out there with relatives who live there year round and still go because they still live there. Year round. AND I’ve run a pretty big project out there — needing to move heavy construction equipment, crews, materials, supplies and getting it all done on a budget and on a schedule. IN SPITE OF THE WEATHER, THE FERRY DELAYS, AND ALL OF THE OTHER INCONVENIENCES. You can’t just wander down to the local industrial supply to get this stuff. Nor do you get this kind of work done (or, frankly, happily live in such a place) without accommodating yourself to the operation of the ferries and having a decent Plan B and C for contingencies.

    So you will need to argue for this bridge from its own utility, not from some superior authority with ocean-going ferries that have little to do with what would be needed here. The two links you provided are to grant funds for ancillary operations. The majority of the operating budget of the Cape Cod ferries comes from user fees.

  45. Dave says:

    “The thing about the ferry is that no matter the price, it is paid by the people who use it. So that when I use that ferry, I pay for it — not the taxpayers of MA”

    Generally true, but remember it is a government instrumentality and can and will assess taxpayers for financial support. Fortunately, they have not had to do that since 1963, an enviable record. But the taxpayers of MA served by the system are ultimately responsible for any deficits.

    Very few public transportation systems operate without some government financial subsidy. It’s the price we pay for civilization (someone on this site said that and it stuck with me).

  46. Aoine says:

    Oh dear – i give up.

    That act was written on the 60’s. and amended recently

    Please read page 11 of the enabling act.

    I am glad u spent the summer there. How many winters. I grew up there, got married there – just got my first shipment of bay scallops ( commercial season opens tomorrow) have personal direct knowledge of its operations,,know multiple Board members and have for year and get the papers weekly and have for the past 15 years

    Funny u never mentioned u have family in my home town…. I probably know them- I should, its small enough-! We islanders are tight

    But hey! I dont think you dont have expertise – but please understand that someone else might actually have more!

  47. Miscreant says:

    “So maybe citing Nantucket as an example isn’t the best comparison – no offense to Delaware beaches, but… come on! ;-)”

    Correct. We only have to look a few miles north for a spectacular transportation failure-The Cape May-Lewes Ferry, one of the biggest money pits of all time. Overpriced, undependable, and they shut down for any wave action above white caps. I believe they actually tried to sell it on eBay at one time. The annual maintenance on just one of those rust buckets is probably more than it costs to maintain the sand pumping station for 5 years.

    A ferry is is perhaps one of the most idiotic solutions to the horrors of beach erosion of all time.

  48. pandora says:

    I’m not promoting a ferry, Mis, just pointing out how ridiculous citing the cost of using the Nantucket Ferry as a comparison was.

    As far as beach erosion… just buying time and spending money. That’s all it is. Nature will win in the end – especially since we’ve been cheating nature for quite a while by not letting a barrier island do what barrier islands are intended to do (see Assateague).

  49. Miscreant says:

    I know you weren’t Pandora. And I totally agree that nature will eventually have its way down there. I have a long history in that area. I used to teach scuba diving, and conducted a lot of tests and checkout dives in the Indian River Inlet, at slack tide, so I am very familiar with the forces of nature.

    I recall diving under the bridge several times before they discovered there were structural problems. At one period of time, before they barged tons and tons of rocks down the Delaware Bay from Pennsylvania to shore them up, the concrete pilings were, in effect, hanging from the bridge with little or no support from the driven creosote pilings on which they sat. The sand had eroded from around them, leaving them exposed, and they even moved slightly according to the direction of the tidal flow.

    Good times.

  50. anonymous says:

    Aoine says. “No one gets bent out of shape – we live here we get it. Its all OK because there is always tomorrow. And we know we are not going to win.” End quote.

    Well that’s just poetic and sad.

    Sand isnt a construction product and bridges are to be designed to go OVER the water. Endless ‘renurishment’ isn’t the answer. All are just costly forms of denial and waste of time and effort. These are surely solvable problems especially if the engineers consider the reality of the future otherwise one is presently getting a look at what the future holds – a road full of sand and water and a bridge to nowhere.

  51. Aoine says:

    If its solvable- then tell us ur solution.

    What is it with you- ANYTHING tha man builds is temporary. From a grass hut to a pyramid- its just that the hut is cheaper

    do you really believe we are going to conquer nature? The wind the tide the water? Every solution we come up with is temporary. U could nuke IRB and eventually nature would reclaim it

    Face the fact there is no permanent fix- if human want to live there there will ALWAYS be a price to pay for that
    And accept the enevitable……

    Humans will contune to build and nature will continue to destroy what man built- there is no conquering nature- there is only temporary detante

    You are in DEnial……accept man will never win….and move on

    Like dave said- its the price we pay for civilzation….

  52. Miscreant says:

    By Anonymous’ rationale, we shouldn’t repair highways, patch holes in the ferry, or fix those flat tires, because they’ll just need it again… eventually.

    I can just about hear the melancholy prose…

    …the residuum of the tire blowout presented a stark, symbolic image of the forces of an $87 rubber tire laid to waste at the foot of a million dollar slab of asphalt. See the shards of shredded rubber strewn randomly across the blackened monolith, mingling with the residue of countless truck retreads that had been swept to the curb by wind and time. I squint helplessly at the fading gleam of tangled steel belts reflecting across the cold pavement. I feel the stinging irony of a flattened roadkill skunk stuck to the highway by the merciless pounding of the kinetic forces where the rubber meets the road. I sit in near darkness, illuminated only by the flashing tow truck lights, pondering the futility of investing in this frail, powerless *Bridge*stone.
    Never again…

  53. anonymous-

    “Sand isnt a construction product…”[sic]

    Sand is primarily used in construction as an ingredient in concrete or as a drainage material. Masons also sprinkle sand on concrete floors to keep mortar from sticking to it as they lay block, brick or stone.

    Sand can be used as a construction “product” (your choice of words) if one is building something made of glass.

  54. anonymous says:

    See MIscreant Oct 31 10:43 above, whine. “……the residuum of the tire blowout presented a stark, symbolic image…” blab.blab blab. Cough gag

    He’s apparently expressing his inner feeeelings of frustration and inadequacy..showing all., he can relate to failure through pathetic prose.

    Thanks a million grains of sand for the laugh however

    Roland. D. LeBay. What is that multi million dollar failed “construction material” spread across the highway and bridge ramp?

    Meanwhile. engineering failure is engineering failure.


    Anthropogenic CO2 (291.4 parts per million) is good thing. right?

  55. Miscreant says:

    “He’s apparently expressing his inner feeeelings of frustration and inadequacy..showing all., he can relate to failure through pathetic prose.”

    Although you were (predictably) too dimwitted to comprehend it, I was parodying your own neurotic, panty-wetting, angst-ridden diatribes about… well, shit happening.

    “Thanks a million grains of sand for the laugh however”

    While, I’m pleasantly surprised that you have any sense of humor at all, I humbly concede, you’re way funnier than I am.

  56. Dave says:


    I thought your piece was well written. It made me wonder how much time it took, whether it came naturally or was it professional training, crap like that. It was intentionally hyperbolic. I especially like the “stinging irony of a flattened roadkill skunk stuck to the highway by the merciless pounding of the kinetic forces.” I mean really, who the heck would ever think to string these words together? It was like someone using a word matrix, selecting one word from each column. Anyway, I tend to over analyze…but it was entertaining.

  57. mediawatch says:

    Looks to me like Mis keeps a copy of “The Best of Geezer” alongside his computer and uses it like a thesaurus.

  58. Miscreant says:

    “… Anyway, I tend to over analyze…but it was entertaining.”

    Thanks, Dave. Just another average Happy Hour post. Sometimes it just flows like the misguided sand crossing the road at a poorly engineered bridge.

  59. liberalgeek says:

    This thread is cracking me up. Can anyone tell me what the best Mexican restaurant is in Rehoboth? I forget. (ducks)

  60. geezer says:

    Sand: Can’t keep it in place, can’t attract tourists without it.

    @Mis: I really liked it, too.