Hurricane Barrier Will Not Protect All New Bedford Homes If Irene Hits

NEW BEDFORD (CBS) – It has been a long time since Massachusetts took a direct hit from a hurricane, but it’s very possible Hurricane Irene will hit the state in some form.

A hurricane barrier in New Bedford that was built by the Army Corps of Engineers is ready, but it won’t protect everyone if Irene hits.

The barrier was built in the 1960’s and everyday, boats pass through the opening that can be closed with gates that weigh 440 tons each.

WBZ-TV’s Bill Shields reports

Just a couple of weeks ago, federal inspectors said the structure is sound.

In 1991 Hurricane Bob decimated the region, and it only produced a nine-foot storm surge. The barrier in New Bedford is capable of handling up to a 22-foot surge.

Fishermen say the barrier makes this port the safest in the northeast when a hurricane’s coming.

Still, there are neighborhoods not protected by the barrier. Those who live near the ocean get nervous once Hurricane Season begins.

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