Would a Sea Wall Stop Dangerous Storm Surge?

Some experts say it is possible to build special sea barriers to protect vulnerable coastal cities.
3:00 | 11/02/12

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Transcript for Would a Sea Wall Stop Dangerous Storm Surge?
It's heartbreaking, linsey. There's questions about whether the devastation from sandy could be prevented from happening again. Some say it's possible, looking to places around the world, special sea barriers made to protect cities. John muller is in new york, where the storm surge hit so hard. John, good morning. Reporter: Good morning, amy. Earlier this week, I would be underwater. Much of lower manhattan was. It's dry. The storm has passed. It's easy to say it's behind us. It's not. Make no mistake. It's just a matter of time before another storm hits. This is one of the problems, an aging infrastructure. This is the seawall. From a bygone era. Experts say there's a way to prevent this. They say it's time to spend billions to save billions. Experts now wonder if the massive storm surge that flooded lower manhattan and washed away parts of the jersey shore, could have been solved by sea barriers. Some say that staten island began as a natural barrier island, but it became an urban landscape, taking away this natural shield. Now, engineers are proposing massive shields like these walls. Flood protections that were once considered unnecessary, are now being reconsidered after sandy's 14-foot surge. Anybody who says there's not a dramatic change in weather patterns, I think is denying reality. Reporter: Oceanography professor says -- the barriers are high-tech. And one, the wall lays flat on the harbor, pivoted up when they need to protect against storm surge. They've proved effective in other regions, like in london and the netherlands. But one proposal runs upwards of $6 billion. And skeptics say the massive barriers may not work on long stretches of coastline, like the new jersey shore. When you have an enormous harbor like we do, and long island sound, even if it's a fortune, it seems to me you won't get much value for it. Reporter: Many are saying it's time to consider new ideas. And only adding to the problem, barrier islands, like staten island, not too far out there. It doesn't act like a natural barrier island, soaking up water like a sponge, because it's paved over. The debate will only continue. It will, john. The race for the white house now. It's "your voice, your vote" with just four days to go.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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