Breached dike leaves lives in limbo in South Jersey - NBC40.net

Breached dike leaves lives in limbo in South Jersey

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MAURICE RIVER TWP. -

The Dike along the Maurice River has been problematic for months, but on Sunday the Dike gave way leaving many lives in limbo.

"We're afraid of losing our homes, everything floods. Its terrible," resident and business owner Ruth Lupton said.

Living in limbo, Ruth Lupton owns a marina and is just one of many here along the Maurice River whose life has been turned upside down because of the breached dike and the access road it washed away.

"We've been shut down since October. No one can get here. We can't get any customers. This is normally when people give deposits and give us an income. We have no income," Lupton added.

The county road connecting Maurice River Township to the marinas was repaired for $70,000 after Hurricane Sandy, it is now destroyed again because of the breach. The marinas are the lifeblood of this community. They say without this road their businesses could soon be underwater.

"That's our income, that's our incoming traffic. It's the only way anybody can get here," Lupton added.

The only way residents can come and go now is with a narrow bike path. Officials say this is unacceptable.

"If this road is not fixed because of this dike then yes, in just a year or two if one further breach is made on that small bike path dike then yes there is ramifications for 50 to 100 million dollars for this Maurice River basin," land board use chairman, Ben Stowman said.

County and township leaders say they are frustrated. The problem was patched before, but they knew it wouldn't hold for long.

"Unless the DEP decides to fix this dike. It was a dike that they are required to maintain, haven't maintained and now they have jeopardized the lively hood of several businesses," Don Olbrich from Cumberland County Public Works said.

NBC 40 reached out to the DEP and they say a construction crew will mobilize starting Wednesday to replace the 4000–foot levee.  As for locals here, they say they want it done right, because they're lives depend on it.

The DEP says they will raise the dike to 8.2ft above sea level.

Township officials are asking residents to stay away from the area until it is deemed safe.

 

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