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New Staten Island Flood Plan Includes 20-Foot Levee and Buried Seawall

By Nicholas Rizzi | June 16, 2015 10:05am
 The Army Corps of Engineers released a draft of their plan to protect Staten Island from future floods, which includes building a levee on Hylan Boulevard.
The Army Corps of Engineers released a draft of their plan to protect Staten Island from future floods, which includes building a levee on Hylan Boulevard.
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Army Corps of Engineers

STATEN ISLAND — A new flood prevention plan would raise a 20-foot high levee on Hylan Boulevard and add a buried seawall along Staten Island's coastline.

The Army Corps of Engineers released their draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for its nearly $579 million storm prevention plan that includes a mixture of buried seawall, armored levee and floodwall stretching from Fort Wadsworth to Oakwood Beach to help waterfront neighborhoods withstand future storms.

"It is the most important project in Staten Island's foreseeable future," said Borough President James Oddo, who was briefed on the plan Monday afternoon. "We will not be satisfied, we will not relax until this is built."

South Shore of Staten Island Coastal Storm Risk Management Feasibility Study

The draft calls for the installation of the levee on a section of Hylan Boulevard in Oakwood with a structure that can be closed off during storms. Hylan Boulevard's levee will lead into a mixture of a buried seawall and armored levee made of stone that runs across the shoreline until Fort Wadsworth, according to the plan.

"This is a big step forward for the East Shore," said Councilman Steven Matteo in a statement. "Finally, the project that our communities have long awaited is starting to become a reality."

The protective measure will mainly follow the path of the existing Franklin D. Roosevelt Boardwalk and would demolish the existing one and build a new one on top of the levee, according the plan. The Army Corps will install promenades on areas where the boardwalk doesn't reach and the plan would raise several streets along the route.

It also calls for several open areas around the project to collect excess storm waters.

In his initial review of the project, Oddo said he had some issues with the plans, including acquisition of property, but mainly was concerned about the portion of the project that touches Great Kills Park.

The city is currently working on a preliminary plan to remediate chemical contaminants causing radiation in the park and Oddo wants to make sure it does not cause delays to the Army Corps project.

"I think much of what our work has to center around is getting answers on the remediation," Oddo said. "To have [the Army Corps plan] funded, to have it planned, to have finally gotten to this point and have it delayed for a day because of an outside issue would be just an absolute sin."

The draft needs to go through a review process before it's approved, which the Army Corps expects to finalize roughly by the end of the year, said Chris Gardner, spokesman for the Army Corps of Engineers New York District.

After it's finalized, it will go through more review, a detailed plan on the design would be created and it would be put out to bid for contractors, Gardner said. Work on the project is estimated to start in early 2018.

The federal government would cover about $377 million of the cost of the project, and the city and state of New York would pitch in for the rest, Gardner said.

The Army Corps plans to hold a public review/information session on the project sometime in July and will present to local community boards this summer, Gardner said.