Ten years after Hurricane Sandy hit New York and New Jersey, the federal government is proposing a $52 billion plan. With this money, they plan to build movable barriers and barriers across bays, rivers and other waterways in the two states most affected by the storm, reports Bronx news.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said on September 26 that it had tentatively selected an option for the massive task of protecting the region from a storm surge that destroyed vast stretches of coastline and hinterland during an October 29, 2012 storm.
The proposal for New York and New Jersey includes the construction of movable sea gates on several industrial canals, bays, and other urban waterways in New York. And also in the tidal channels that separate Staten Island from New Jersey. And at the mouths of the Hackensack and Passaic rivers in New Jersey in the Meadowlands region.
The gates will be open during periods of calm and closed when severe storms approach. But the proposed barriers have drawn opposition. First, on the part of property owners. They are worried about what the gate will look like. And secondly, environmentalists who are concerned about the negative impact on water quality and natural ecosystems. Coastal barriers, including flood walls, dams and skywalks, will be built in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan in New York. Also in Jersey City and Newark, New Jersey.
The plan also provides for the integration of natural solutions. Such as restoring wetlands and creating living coastlines, with elements such as oyster colonies. They must soften the force of the oncoming waves in several places, in addition to man-made engineering designs.
Work will begin no earlier than 2030 and will last until 2044.
“This is a milestone on the road to a more sustainable New York and New Jersey coastline,” said Colonel Matthew Luzzatto, Army Corps New York District Commander.
Kizzy Charles-Gusman, executive director of the New York City Hall's Office of Climate and Environmental Justice, called the study an important step towards a comprehensive assessment of coastal hazards along the harbor.
“The densely populated and industrialized New York-New Jersey Harbor area is one of the most at risk from extreme storms,” added Sean Latourette, New Jersey Commissioner of Environmental Protection.
Robert Freidenberg, vice president of the Regional Planning Association, said the proposal "would go a long way in protecting areas that are currently unprotected." He warned that support from local communities is critical to the implementation of any plan.
The study aims to protect critical infrastructure and communities that were inundated by Hurricane Sandy.
“In the event of a severe storm, storm surge barriers, shipping gates and flood barriers will help reduce the risk to vulnerable areas from flood-related damage. Also including loss of life and damage to existing infrastructure. Low-risk areas include schools, parks, energy and transport infrastructure, container and other cargo terminals. They will greatly benefit from the implementation of research measures,” the report says.
The plan, unveiled this week, replaces an earlier proposal for a single six-mile retractable gate running between Rockaways in Queens and Sandy Hook in New Jersey.
The study is similar to the one conducted by the Army Corps in the back base in New Jersey, where flooding caused severe damage to areas inland during Sandy. This study proposes retractable gates and barriers at the mouths of several New Jersey bays. And also in the center of the bays to weaken the force of storm surges. It would cost $16 billion.
There is no guarantee that Congress will fund any of the proposed options.
He was initially reluctant to provide the region with $60 billion in aid following the Sandy strike, before relenting. But Freidenberg of the Regional Planning Association said Army Corps projects tend to be funded at a higher rate than other spending requests. And he called this proposal "as close as possible to guaranteed financing that can be obtained."
Even if the funding is approved, the federal government will only cover 65% of the costs, leaving the rest to states and local communities.