Picture two residential beach communities on the New Jersey shore: Bay Head and Mantoloking, which side-by-side in Ocean County on a narrow barrier island that separates the Atlantic Ocean and Barnegat Bay.

Executive Summary

Two beachfront communities in New Jersey were hit hard by Hurricane Sandy, but one fared much better than the other thanks to a long-forgotten seawall buried beneath the sand, according to Virginia Tech researchers.

Before Hurricane Sandy landed on Oct. 29, 2012, a motorist traveling north on Ocean Avenue would seamlessly travel through Mantoloking into Bay Head, noticing few changes in residential development, dunes, beaches, and shoreline.

The difference was hidden under the sand.

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