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CBS Miami

Fort Lauderdale to consider plan to raise seawall

By Ted Scouten,

2023-03-22

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Fort Lauderdale eyes plan to raise sea walls 02:18

FORT LAUDERDALE -- The city of Fort Lauderdale is expected Thursday night to consider and approve a measure to raise the height of sea walls.

Hendricks Isle is one of those places that floods when king tides hit.

The Fort Lauderdale sea wall. CBS 4

"This has always been impassable during king tide," said Barbara Sullivan, who lives in the area and knows how difficult it is to get around when the flood waters lap over the sea walls and up through the drains in their cul-de-sac. "This whole circle was completely flooded with 2 or 3 feet of water. All the cars had to be moved because they were being ruined."

Dr. Nancy Gassman, sustainability expert with the city, showed CBS News Miami a comparison of current sea wall height requirements to the new proposed requirements. "So you can see they're just about 13-14 inches different. That's the difference in the requirement of the new ordinance."

Under a proposal, some sea walls will be raised from 3.9 feet to 5 feet.

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Information from the city about the Fort Lauderdale sea wall. City of Fort Lauderdale

"With sea level rise we're going to be seeing that a 5-foot elevation is going to protect against tidal flooding in the future, for the life of the sea wall," Gassman said.

City officials are expected Thursday night to give final approval to raising sea walls buy just over a foot to meet a county mandate.

The move will mean dilapidated sea walls will have to be replaced and new ones will be required to be at least 5 feet high.

"The new ordinance will not impact existing sea walls that are in good shape and are of an appropriate height," Gassman said. "It really impacts those property owners that have sea walls that are in need of replacement or sea walls that are so low they're causing impacts to their neighbors of the public right of way."

With more frequent king tides, Gassman hopes higher walls will hold back the ocean.

"Whenever we have extreme high tides, they tend to happen more in the fall," Gassman said. "But we actually just had one yesterday, that was at a height that would flood Fort Lauderdale's lowest lying areas, when ever we have these higher tides, the sea walls are the first line of defense."

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