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Seawall project underway in flood-prone area of Delray Beach

Posted at 10:40 PM, Nov 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-13 22:40:36-05

It's an issue that gets worse and worse by the year: Intracoastal flooding in Delray Beach.

The high tides are sending water into homes. Even after heavy rains, the streets fill up with water.

The city says they are working as quickly as possible on a solution but it will take much more than a seawall to fix the problems on Marine Way.

“It is impacting our city and the more that we let that go, the more problematic it’s going to be," said Shelly Petrolia, Delray Beach city commissioner.

It's a project at least five years in the making, when Petrolia says she took over her commissioner seat and noticed the flooding issues in the Delray Beach neighborhood off of Atlantic Avenue.

“As the tides rise higher and higher the water gets closer to homes," she said.

Neighbors hope a solution will bring the regular flooding to an end.

“It gets worse and worse. You have to replace landscaping, you’ve had to replace the pool pump," Euegnia Deponte, a resident on Marine Way. "I have to move my car to another street. It's very inconvenient."

Petrolia says right now, the project is in the consulting phase.

“They’re in the process of laying out the plans and from there, we go to the actual building of the seawalls," said Petrolia.

The project is two-fold, starting with the seawall at nearby Veterans Park being rehabbed first.

“We are currently working on the seawalls over at Veterans Park because they were showing signs of deterioration and were becoming unsafe," said Petrolia. "So that's the first step. We are in the process of replacing those right now."

But Petrolia says it doesn't stop with a seawall once the city makes its way down to Marine Way. Old pipes under the road are causing water to back up during high tides and even heavy rains.

“I think that that’s going to be up to the engineers to decide what to do with the water, it’s not always coming from the Intracoastal, it’s coming from our skies, too," she said. "It's a complicated and much more intricate issue than what we're dealing with at Veterans Park."

With mangrove trees growing along the water, that means the city has to sit down with Department of Environmental Protection and the Army Corps of Engineers for a lengthy permit process. Petrolia says the goal is to build a seawall that can be adjusted with the tides.

“In the future, if we need to raise them further we’re not having to replace the wall itself, we can actually add to the cap," said Petrolia.

Design plans and approvals could be completed as early as next summer.

"We're very excited about that. We're very anxious to get the flooding issues resolved on Marine Way," said Deponte. "Shelly Petrolia has been very supportive on addressing the needs of this neighborhood."

It's unknown exactly how much the entire project will cost but Petrolia says the city is committed to fixing the issue as soon as possible.

“It's one of those situations depending on how many of the moving parts are going to be able to be satisfied as to quickly we can get this done, but obviously it's a big priority," said Petrolia.