New Jersey responds to Superstorm Sandy with $230M flood control project
- New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy last week announced that the state had chosen a final alignment for the $230 million system of coastal anti-flood barriers that will protect the New Jersey cities of Hoboken, Weehawken and Jersey City, areas that were damaged by storm surge from Superstorm Sandy in 2012.
- The Hudson River project will see the construction of bulkheads, floodwalls and seawalls, as well as soft landscaping features like berms that can do double duty as parks, to hold back water during high tides and storm surges; installation of urban green infrastructure to inhibit stormwater runoff; construction of water capture and storage infrastructure like bio-retention basins, swales and green roofs; and improvements to existing stormwater management systems to better control discharge. The barrier system's design will also protect the Hoboken Rail Yard while still allowing for waterfront access and views of the Hudson River and New York City skyline.
- The Department of Housing and Urban Development's Rebuild by Design initiative will foot the bill for the project. The program encourages projects that not only increase the resiliency of urban coastal areas but also provide quality-of-life infrastructure like parks and recreational space. HUD created the Rebuild by Design competition and approved $930 million for Rebuild by Design projects in New Jersey, New York City and New York state. As the state’s designated HUD-grantee for Sandy recovery, the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) will be involved in the project’s execution. New York state, New Jersey and New York City have received a total of $930 million under the Rebuild by Design program.
Coastal communities from Texas, the Gulf states and Mid-Atlantic regions are still in recovery mode from the 2017 and 2018 hurricane seasons, which caused extensive wind and stormwater damage. Texas has already proposed its own $23 billion to $32 billion system of coastal barriers after last year's Hurricane Harvey devastated the Houston region. The proposal includes barrier gates extending from Galveston Island to Bolivar Peninsula, improvements to the Galveston seawall and construction of levees along the remainder of the coast. Critics of the plan maintain that the Army Corps of Engineers should pursue a more environmentally friendly approach to protecting the coast.
Florida building codes are some of the toughest in the country, but after October's Hurricane Michael razed whole communities along the state's panhandle, there are already calls to tighten them even further, particularly as they pertain to the ability to withstand higher hurricane-force winds and more powerful storm surges.
- State of New Jersey - Office of the Governor Governor Murphy and DEP Announce Major Step Forward for the Rebuild By Design Project
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