NJ Town Wants Entire Downtown Raised 11 Feet
Army Corps of Engineers agrees to study bold, expensive flood prevention step
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Aug 8, 2013 12:37 PM CDT
A view of Atlantic Highlands, NJ, from the Oceanic bridge.   (Wikimedia/Tomwsulcer)

(Newser) – A New Jersey town is considering a drastically ambitious flood prevention step: Raising the entire downtown area by 10 or 11 feet. The heart of the ironically-named Highlands lies in a crescent-shaped depression that used to be a marsh, making it flood prone. So officials want to lift every building and fill in the land beneath with landfill—a process that would send residents to temporary camps for about a month. The Army Corps is considering the project, which would cost an estimated $200 million, the Asbury Park Press reports.

Critics say it's unclear why Highlands should get that kind of money over other coastal areas. "It's a very expensive option," admits one official studying it. But the head of Highlands' Environmental Commission thinks a combination of federal, state, and private funding can make it happen. He's been backing the idea for years, well before Hurricane Sandy. "At the time, it seemed as though we would be using a 1-ton hammer to drive in a nail," he says. "Now it doesn't seem so out of proportion."

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Showing 3 of 38 comments
Aug 11, 2013 1:42 PM CDT
Downtown Seattle did that in its youth, more than a century ago, for the same general reason. The city paid for raising the roads, and the businesses alongside had to change their entrances to what had been the second floor. Rather odd to build your building(s) in the wrong place and then ask others to bail you out...
Aug 10, 2013 1:11 AM CDT
Three words, Jim Walter's Homes. Actually they pretty much closed up shop but you can get a desing for one of their stilt homes. You park underneath it so its very efficient living.
Aug 9, 2013 11:46 AM CDT
Galveston, Texas in 1900 was a little different than Highlands in 2013.