Cape Gazette

Tuesday Editorial

Prime Hook: Close the breach first

Aug 14, 2012

State transportation officials say they will use a $640,000 grant to reduce flooding that frequently closes Prime Hook Road. Larger, improved culverts, DelDOT officials say, will allow water to flow under the road and reduce water that backs up and floods over the road, cutting off the only public access route to the Primehook Beach community.

Residents and other users of Prime Hook Road agree the road is in need of repair. As numerous photos and stories in the Cape Gazette have documented, the road floods during major storms and even after minor ones.

Residents, for years, have been asking, demanding and pleading for the road to be kept open.

But even the most optimistic of residents will find it hard to believe this $640,000 project will make a serious dent in the problem.

They say the real problem is the wide breach in the duneline south of nearby Fowlers Beach.

The 4,000-foot breach – we’re talking a gap three-fourths of a mile wide – allows saltwater to flow in, overwhelming the marshes, which at times are now underwater.

Even DelDOT officials say the proposed culverts will not solve the problem.

Residents have been waiting for more than a year as Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge officials complete a comprehensive management plan for the refuge, which is now in its final stages.

Refuge managers offered a preferred alternative for managing the refuge, a let-nature-take-its-course approach that would not close the breach.

At hearing after hearing held to collect public comment on the plan, residents have demanded the comprehensive plan start with closing the breach.

Residents point out the obvious: The Prime Hook Road will continue to flood as long as the breach remains open.

It’s time for state and federal officials to stop throwing money at stopgap measures.

There is only one plan that makes sense: Close the breach first. Then fix the road.



Comments (1)
Posted by: Barry Wayne Price | Aug 15, 2012 08:39

$640,000 for what is pretty much a private lane to the residential part of the park. I'd be pleased with that, however the residents continue to demand more, perhaps millions to protect their way of life. They want the dune breach filled. How much are we prepared to spend to win a loosing battle with nature for what is a very small group? Enough already. Fix the road, and leave it at that. I have more people living on my road then there are on Prime Hook, but you don't hear me crying for upgrades at taxpayer expense. Sheesh.

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