Morehead State University

Poster Title

Erosion Control and Hurricane Protection: The Isabel Experience at Virginia Beach

Institution

Morehead State University

Abstract

Morehead State University Senior Grant Sorrell undertook to study at first-hand the erosional impact of hurricanes, comparing shorelines where significant investment has been made in preventative engineering, against those where such investment has not been made. The Erosion Control and Hurricane Prevention Project at Virginia Beach, Virginia, represents an investment of more than $120 million and was completed in 2002. Major features of this project were construction of a concrete-capped seawall/boardwalk and replenishment of the shoreline with sand sediments obtained offshore. The landfall of Hurricane Isabel on September 18, 2003, at a point on the Outer Banks 180 kilometers south of the city provided a test of the effectiveness of this project, and Sorrell was on hand during the hurricane to assess damage. According to COE estimates, the project prevented about $82 million in damages. Little damage was done to the beach by the hurricane, although severe erosion was experienced at unprotected shorelines throughout the region, including those farther from the storm than Virginia Beach. The Virginia Beach case study indicates that significant short-term benefits may be derived from large shoreline engineering projects of this nature.

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Erosion Control and Hurricane Protection: The Isabel Experience at Virginia Beach

Morehead State University Senior Grant Sorrell undertook to study at first-hand the erosional impact of hurricanes, comparing shorelines where significant investment has been made in preventative engineering, against those where such investment has not been made. The Erosion Control and Hurricane Prevention Project at Virginia Beach, Virginia, represents an investment of more than $120 million and was completed in 2002. Major features of this project were construction of a concrete-capped seawall/boardwalk and replenishment of the shoreline with sand sediments obtained offshore. The landfall of Hurricane Isabel on September 18, 2003, at a point on the Outer Banks 180 kilometers south of the city provided a test of the effectiveness of this project, and Sorrell was on hand during the hurricane to assess damage. According to COE estimates, the project prevented about $82 million in damages. Little damage was done to the beach by the hurricane, although severe erosion was experienced at unprotected shorelines throughout the region, including those farther from the storm than Virginia Beach. The Virginia Beach case study indicates that significant short-term benefits may be derived from large shoreline engineering projects of this nature.