An engineering firm that spent five years studying Virginia Beach’s flooding problem recently presented a report to the city council that says the city will have to spend up to $3.8 billion to manage sea level rise flooding.
To draft its recommendations, Dewberry estimated that seas will rise about 1 1/2 feet between 2035 and 2055 and 3 feet between 2065 and 2085. Sections of the city already experience coastal flooding. More areas will be inundated as the seas rise.
Among the firm’s recommendations are the construction of high-tech flood gates along with more seawalls and levees. The engineers also said the city should consider buying out about 2,500 homes that are at risk of flooding and restricting development in vulnerable areas.
The city council and planning commission are going to consider all aspects of the report before approving its conclusions. Officials say they also need to consider funding sources. They say residents can’t afford to pay all of the billions of dollars needed to protect the city. They’ll have to seek federal assistance.
Communities all along the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf of Mexico coastlines grappling with sea level rise flooding and the need to protect valuable real estate and other assets are struggling with how to pay for hundreds of millions and even billions of dollars worth of needed construction projects. Buyers, sellers, owners and real estate agents need to consider the plans when they’re deciding how to respond to the challenge.