OCEAN CITY – Ocean City is in the process of assessing damaged done by Hurricane Sandy as Ocean City returns to business one step at a time.
“I think we are very fortunate,” Mayor Rick Meehan said at this morning’s press conference. “We have our team out there right now doing a damage assessment. We have our partners, State Highway Administration, and other agencies helping us with that. We are trying to get things open back up as quickly as possible and I think we have made some great progress already.”
As of noon today, the Town of Ocean City and Maryland State Highway (SHA) announced Coastal Highway is open from N. Division Street and all streets to the north. The downtown area south of the bridge is not open.
In addition, the Route 50 Bridge is now open to all traffic after being closed on Sunday due to flooding in the downtown area. The Route 90 Bridge was closed temporarily last night due to high winds but is also open at this time.
The beaches and the Inlet Parking Lot will remain closed until further notice. The United States Coast Guard has restricted all access to the bay, with the exception of emergency and rescue boats.
“There have been minimal power outages,” the mayor said.
According to Delmarva Power, the two circuits that were preemptively de-energized yesterday in the downtown area have been restored.
Meehan was pleased to announce the beach maze that was built for OCtoberfest survived the storm but unfortunately the end portion of the Ocean City Fishing Pier was not so lucky. Other damage reported was an impaired light pole fell temporarily blocking the entrance to the Public Work Department.
“Other than that, the good news is I believe the Town of Ocean City will be completely back in business by tomorrow,” Meehan said.
He added that the Public Works Department is in the process of returning the Boardwalk to its normal state, benches and trash bins have been returned to their locations and sand is in the process of being cleaned up.
According to the mayor, the result of the storm surge resulted in the highest water level Ocean City has seen since Hurricane Gloria in 1985.
“I would like to thank everybody for staying inside,” Meehan said. “We had absolutely no injuries as a result of this storm and I think that is the most important thing that we keep everybody safe.”
Meehan took the time to thank all of the local businesses and residents with being so cooperative. He also thanked the State of Maryland who provided State Police and the National Guard to assist with evacuations. There were 49 people relocated to shelters from their home, and Ocean City emergency personnel responded to 231 calls for service.
Emergency Services Director Joe Theobald also thanked all the other agencies, such as FEMA and the Coast Guard, which partnered with Ocean City to make it through Hurricane Sandy.
“We made the right decisions,” Theobald said. “I want to thank the community for cooperating with mandatory evacuations…I want to thank the most the employees that worked tirelessly through the entire time … I would like to thank the Mayor and the City Council and City Manager for the support they give. The right decisions were made based on the information. We got through it. We were prepared for it, and we learned from it.”
According to the town, residents and businesses who wish to discard storm related debris can place debris on the curb, where citizens normally place trash (out of the way of driveways, street ways and fire hydrants) and Public Works employees will conduct pickup through 5 p.m. on Nov. 6.
In addition, the Transportation Department has returned to their normal winter schedule and is providing service to non‐restricted areas. Transportation is being provided to citizens who were relocated to area shelters and returning them to Ocean City.
Citizens should remember that power failures have extinguished traffic lights around the state and motorists are reminded of the states non‐functioning traffic light law. For information about the non‐functioning traffic light law, visit www.mdsp.org.
Residents should be reminded that trash pickup will resume Thursday, Nov. 1. Trash is scheduled to be picked up on Thursday, Nov. 1, for those who are normally receive pick‐up on Monday and Friday, Nov. 2, for those who normally receive pickup on Tuesday.