Virginia Beach officials introduce new ideas to tackle flooding

Flooding on Sandbridge Road in Virginia Beach (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of Courtney Engh)
Flooding on Sandbridge Road in Virginia Beach (Southside Daily/Courtesy of Courtney Engh)

VIRGINIA BEACH — City leaders are showing the public new ideas to tackle flooding and the rising sea level.

Stormwater engineers have multiple plans for different areas of concerns. All of the plans throughout the city are designed to handle up to three feet of sea level rise.

Public Works Stormwater Engineer C.J Bodnar said crews want to install sector gates at Rudee Inlet and at the Lesner Bridge. He said if too much water comes in, the gates can close at any time.

Bodnar said the goal is to reduce flooding upstream of the Lynnhaven River. If the gates were installed, Bodnar said areas like Windsor Woods, Princess Anne Plaza, and Towne Center would be protected from flooding or sea level rise.

At the boardwalk, crews want to expand the sea wall. It’s designed to handle the pressure. They also want to add gates where people want to the beach. Leaders say if there’s a storm they could close the gates and protect Oceanfront homes and properties.

For the south side of the city, leaders want to raise West Neck Creek, Sandbridge, and Muddy Creek Roads. The plan would include adding a gate system as well as a pump station, so the water could properly flow.

Wherever each gate is located, Bodnar said there would also be a gatehouse and pump station.

People who live in flood-prone areas said they want the city to look for more of a natural approach instead of using large equipment to try and solve the issues.

“They are hard engineering solutions and they are going to cost a lot of money. There’s going to be upkeep with those and there will always be money that will be needed and pumped into the projects,” explained Melani Moreno.

City leaders said the plans are not final. If everything is approved, it could take more than a decade to be completed!

City leaders are holding several public meetings to get your opinion

  • May 29 – Virginia Aquarium
  • May 30 – Kempsville High School
  • June 3 – Kellam High School
  • June 5 – Princess Anne High School
  • June 6 – Creeds Elementary School

Each meeting is from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

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John Mangalonzo (john@localvoicemedia.com) is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.