Projects needed to help Virginia Beach fight rising sea

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) — Virginia Beach will have to consider multi-billion-dollar infrastructure projects and other efforts to face the threat of sea-level rise, according to a study.

The $3.8 million study also points to restricting new development in some parts of the city and purchasing properties in danger of flooding, The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk reported on Thursday.

Dewberry, an engineering consulting firm, presented the report to the City Council on Tuesday. It was based on two sea-level rise estimates: 1½ feet (0.45 meters) for the years 2035 to 2055, and 3 feet (0.9 meter) for 2065 to 2085.

City Council and the planning commission still need to approve the report, which will serve as a framework for the city’s overall plan moving forward if finalized. Both bodies are planning to vote on it in February.

The report lays out a series of options, broken down into four main categories — engineered defenses, adapted structures, natural mitigation and prepared communities — for four areas of the city.

The biggest changes would come from major infrastructure projects, for which the report laid out three city-wide plans. The costs would range from $1.13 billion to $2.42 billion and protect somewhere between 28,000 and 45,000 buildings.

“There’s just so many different levels of what we need to do here,” Councilwoman Barbara Henley said. “We’ve got a lot to do. And it’s good to know how much we have to work with.”