7960540700?profile=originalWater floods part of the northbound lane of A1A

in front of Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa

during October’s king tides.

Jerry Lower/The Coastal Star

By Dan Moffett

    The high tides of October invaded areas of Manalapan that only torrential downpours had flooded before, giving residents and town commissioners reason to worry about the future impact of rising sea levels.
    Standing water greeted motorists on sections of Lands End Road on Point Manalapan when the king tides hit their peak, lapping up onto the lawns of homeowners.
    “This recent flooding has nothing to do with storms, but with the high tides,” said Mayor David Cheifetz. “We’re not talking about a (Hurricane) Sandy thing.”
    Town Manager Linda Stumpf said much of the recent flooding on the Point was due to swales that aren’t playing the roles they used to. Instead of relieving the buildup of water on the roadways, the swales are funneling it onto the streets. Flooding is happening more frequently because of the change in the grass slope and the inability of catch basins to keep up with the high volume of water.
    “Our swales are not acting like swales anymore. The grass and roots have grown over the years and made the swales higher over time,” Stumpf said. “On Lands End we now see grass that’s higher than the road.”
    A possible solution would be to dig up the swales, regrade them and plant new sod. Stumpf told commissioners at their Oct. 28 meeting that she would consult with Engenuity Engineering, a West Palm Beach civil engineering firm, and report on possible courses of action to the commission on Nov. 18.
    Stumpf said the state has a drainage plan in the works for sections of A1A that also flooded during the king tides.
    “We need to attempt to figure out if there’s anything we can do to minimize this situation or mitigate it,” Cheifetz said. “Because it’s a pain in the neck, and we haven’t had it before really.”
    Commissioner Chauncey Johnstone suggested it might be time for the town to begin taking a hard look at the long-term consequences of climate change and rising seas.
    “Perhaps we can do something to be proactive,” Johnstone said, “and maybe we can get a jump on this thing.”
    In other business:
    • Commissioner Peter Isaac reported that engineers’ preliminary estimate for replacing the Audubon Causeway bridge has come in at $850,000, slightly higher than projected. But he said after the bids are sent out on Dec. 7, the price is likely to drop as bidders compete against each other.
    Isaac said all the permits but one are approved, and the project is on track to begin construction by April. The Architectural Commission has agreed on a “clean and simple” design for the bridge’s railings that will keep the fabricated detailing to a minimum.
    • The newly created police discretionary fund has received roughly $24,500 from residents who want to contribute to buying equipment for the department. Commissioners have approved the creation of a committee of residents and officials to oversee how the money is spent.

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