STATEN ISLAND — A flood prevention plan that would build a 20-foot high levee on Hylan Boulevard and add a seawall along Staten Island's coastline has been approved.
The Army Corps of Engineers' $579 million storm prevention plan to protect the East Shore of the borough in another storm has been approved, finishing the first phase of the project months ahead of schedule, elected officials announced.
The project will now move into the design phase in which engineers and architects will create blueprints and construction plans for the seawall.
"Staten Islanders can breathe a sigh of relief because the vitally important East Shore Sea Wall Project is officially one step closer to becoming a reality," Senator Charles Schumer said.
"I am pleased that the Army heeded our call by quickly signing off on this project, ahead of schedule, so that construction can begin as soon as possible."
Last year, the Army Corps of Engineers released the plan that includes a mixture of buried seawall, armored levee and floodwall stretching from Fort Wadsworth to Oakwood Beach.
The plan 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. The levee will lead into a mixture of buried seawall and levee made of stone that will run across the shoreline until Fort Wadsworth, according to the plan.
After the public review process ended in October, the plan then needed final approval from Assistant Secretary of the Army Jo-Ellen Darcy.
Officials expected Darcy decision on the project to be made next year and Schumer, Rep. Dan Donovan and Borough President James Oddo sent her a letter urging for an earlier date to help speed up the process.
"The Army Corps Seawall Project is one of the most important projects for the future of our borough, as demonstrated in tragic detail by the devastation caused by Sandy," Oddo said in a statement.
"The federal government must do all in its power to remove each and every bureaucratic obstacle standing in the way of a completed line of protection on the East Shore, which is still dealing with the effects of Sandy."
Construction on the seawall's expected to start in late 2018 or early 2019, officials said.