Large trucks, dune line and sturdy seawall for protection against Sandy

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NORTH WILDWOOD — The city was lucky to escape major damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, but officials said that preparation for serious storms were also key in safeguarding the town. 

North Wildwood Mayor Bill Henfey said the city had started to prepare for storms like Sandy with the building of a new seawall in 2005. A few years later the city literally filled the gap in its shore protection plans by adding a concrete cap to the remnants of the older seawall along John F. Kennedy Drive. The project added an 18-inch-thick and 3-foot-wide layer of concrete across the rocks that make up the circa-1970s seawall between Second and Third avenues along the oceanfront street.

The total length of the wall is 8,400 feet.

Police Chief Robert Matteucci said that he had wanted to purchase five-ton trucks after the blizzards in 2010 and Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011. However, none were available or the cost was too prohibitive.

Matteucci started to look for other ways that emergency personnel could travel through the city’s streets if they were covered in snow or high water and came across military vehicles.

A federal surplus program allows municipalities and their law-enforcement agencies to obtain surplus military vehicles at no cost. The only expense is maintaining the vehicles.

Other towns also used the federal program and were ready with military-grade vehicles, Humvees and five-ton trucks, by the time Sandy arrive in New Jersey.

The city also had a trailer capable of moving a fire department pumper truck and a 5-ton tow truck.

The city also had a 14-foot dune system and had its beach replenished with more than 96,000 cubic yards of sand from Wildwood Crest.

By the time the storm was over, it stole more than a million cubic yards of sand from its dune system.

Lauren Suit can be emailed at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or you can comment on this story at


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