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Dune breach spurs need for repairs

The dune breach north of the Indian River Inlet gets a temporary fix on Tuesday, March 26, after closing one, and then both, northbound lanes of Route 1

Posted on April 1, 2024

With ocean waters churning off the coast early this week, traffic along Route 1 (Coastal Highway) was impacted by a breach of the dunes on the north side of the Indian River Inlet, with the overwash depositing both water and sand on the right travel lane and then across both northbound lanes. But state officials were already monitoring the situation, ready to address safety issues.

Prior to 10 a.m. Tuesday, DNREC’s shoreline and waterway management section was monitoring waves “at a vulnerable point on the northside Indian River Inlet, and proactively reached out to our partners at DelDOT to coordinate a potential closure of Route 1 northbound,” officials said mid-week in recounting the effort.

“A breach at this location is a known occurrence when water levels are high with strong, driving winds and the potential for back-bay flooding.”

At 10:15 a.m. on Tuesday, they said, a high tide caused a breach a quarter-mile north of the Indian River Inlet Bridge. DelDOT shut down Route 1 shortly afterward, due to high water in the roadway.

The water level began to recede around noon, officials said, which allowed a DNREC crew to mobilize on Route 1 and begin redirecting the flow of water “as best it could be managed.” DelDOT and DNREC then teamed up to procure sand and deliver it to the breached dune, where officials said staff “were continuing to work from the restricted lane into the evening to reshape the dune.” Motorists were asked to take caution when driving through the area.

“DNREC crews were, in fact, expected to be working late last night,” officials said Wednesday, noting that high tide started at 9 p.m., “and will be monitoring the next high tide at 10:30 a.m., in case of a recurring situation.”

Officials reported “no further flooding issues overnight, thankfully,” adding that DNREC had been “trucking in sand to rebuild the dune in this area.”

An official state beach nourishment project was set to begin Wednesday, March 27, and continue over the next several days, to combat the severe erosion experienced by the dune, officials said.

“DNREC is performing the repair work and also paying for the nourishment project ahead to bolster the dune in trying to prevent the next breach.”


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