Business and visitors in North Carolina's Outer Banks have filed a class-action lawsuit against PCL Construction for alleged losses caused by a power outage that occurred when PCL accidentally cut through power lines during construction on a bridge replacement project last week, according to USA Today.
PCL is replacing the Bonner Bridge, which connects the Outer Banks' Hatteras and Bodie islands. According to the lawsuit, PCL had promised to save the state $60 million through an accelerated construction schedule. Despite the disruption, state Department of Transportation officials say the new bridge will open to traffic in the fall of 2018.
When disaster strikes areas that depend heavily on tourism, residents and businesses are tasked with recovering damages to their property and revenue lost from visitors canceling their trips or cutting their vacations short.
When Hurricane Matthew rolled through the Outer Banks and other areas of the southeastern U.S. in October 2016, it caused an estimated $6 billion worth of damage, according to CoreLogic. Although the Outer Banks suffered relatively minor property damage in the wake of Hurricane Matthew, businesses were no doubt counting on a robust 2017 summer season to help pay for needed repairs and higher insurance premiums.
Portions of New York and New Jersey are still recovering from Superstorm Sandy, which hit the area in 2012. In November 2016, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio reinvigorated repair efforts through the Build It Back initiative, which streamlines construction by allowing demolition to go through without a final permit.
Superstorm Sandy's damage wasn't limited to buildings, though. New York's subway system also took a hit. The city's L train tunnel connecting Manhattan and Brooklyn suffered damages from the storm, resulting in a $477 million city contract awarded to Judlau Contracting and TC Electric for repairs. The Hudson River tunnel project, joining New York and New Jersey, saw its project costs soar in response to damage caused by the storm. In July, the Federal Transit Administration estimated the new tunnel would cost around $11.1 billion with repairs to the old tunnel costing up to $1.8 billion — taken together, a hefty jump from the original estimates of $7.7 billion.
While some researchers are looking into best practices for managing retreat methods for severe disasters, other businesses and municipalities are eyeing resilient design. The latter method involves designing and constructing buildings to withstand the effects of natural and human-caused disasters. And it's gaining ground in areas like the West Coast, where seismic activity is an underlying risk facing every building project, and areas along the Gulf Coast, where major storms can lead to catastrophic flooding.