Sandwich Selectmen Receive Update on Storm Damage

SANDWICH – Selectmen in Sandwich received an update Thursday night on the significant damage done by the powerful nor’easter which hit the region at the beginning of the month.

The Upper Cape region was hit hard, especially with coastal inundation.

Town Manager Bud Dunham said officials did not envision the storm was going to be as bad as it was and that the duration of the nor’easter created especially destructive results.

“I think one of the things that surprised us the most was not only the height of the tides and the waves and the flooding, but then how it basically stayed for 48 hours instead of dissipating,” Dunham said. “I think that’s one of the reasons that there was more damage than usual.”

Several homes on the immediate shore were destroyed, including houses on Wood Avenue Extension, White Cap Avenue and Salt Marsh Road.

“Our building inspector said basically any home to the west of Salt Marsh Road has no deck or stairs remaining,” Dunham said. “It’s just a cliff of dune that goes to the base and the foundation of the homes.”

The Building Department condemned one home on Wood Avenue Extension. Five homes received a red tag, which means they are unsafe to inhabit, are seriously damaged and cannot be occupied until they are brought back up to standards.

“It’s about as close as you can get to being condemned without being condemned,” Dunham said.

One of the red tagged homes was on Dillingham Avenue, two were on White Cape Path and two on Salt Marsh Road.

There were also six home which were yellow tagged, which means certain portions of the structure are uninhabitable, but not the entire building.

“That part needs to be addressed before they can go back in and live there permanently,” Dunham said.

All of the homes receiving yellow tags were on Salt Marsh Road.

Dunham said there were also some septic issues that developed in several homes around town that individual homeowners will have to address.

New entrances through the dune have also been created into the marsh system.

“A couple years ago this was fully cutoff and was hard enough and packed down enough where you could drive a truck on it and wouldn’t even sink down,” Dunham said. “Fortunately it didn’t clog the estuary system.”

There was also significant flooding in the basement of Town Hall.

“There’s always a natural stream that runs underneath Town Hall but it was a lot worse,” Dunham said. “We’re looking at what we can do in the basement to move a couple of pieces of electronics to the first floor somewhere.”

All other town buildings fared well during the storm with no significant damage.

Parking lots near the water were also covered in sand which will be put back in several locations.

State and Federal emergency management agencies will begin the damage assessment over the next several weeks and Dunham said there will be a lot of paperwork involved.

In the marina, some of the power posts took some damage and there were some small leaks in the new harbormaster building that are being fixed at no cost by the contractor.

The walkover stairs at Town Neck Beach will also need to be replaced.

The famous boardwalk was also heavily damaged as parts have been severed. Dunham said the cost to get it ready for the summer could be around $275,000 with long-term repairs to be well-over $1 million.

Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Matthew Beaton was on hand Monday to survey the damage.

Town officials asked for help in getting the permit moving for the Scusset Beach renourishment site so the town can obtain material to replace sand lost on the beaches.

A 400,000 cubic yard sand replacement on Town Neck will be the only way to protect the area. Dunham said they are hoping approval to acquire the sand will move forward quickly.

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