TRENTON – The construction of a flood-resistance system to protect Hoboken as well as parts of Weehawken and Jersey City moved another step forward with the federal government’s release of $230 million in project funding, the Departments of Environmental Protection and Community Affairs announced today.
The release of the funds by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) authorizes the use of the full $230 million through the end of project construction. The project is in the design and environmental permitting phases.
“This is an important milestone for a project that will provide critical protection for these Hudson River communities, which experienced significant flooding and property damage during Superstorm Sandy in October 2012,” said DEP Commissioner Bob Martin. “This project serves as a model for how to address threats from storm surge in urban areas and is an important component of our comprehensive statewide effort to make New Jersey more resilient to storms and flooding.”
“The steady progress being made on the Rebuild by Design-Hudson River project is a result of the strong collaboration between the Departments of Environmental Protection and Community Affairs, both of which have been at the forefront of the state’s Sandy recovery efforts,” said DCA Commissioner Charles A. Richman. “We recognize that resiliency initiatives are a critical part of helping New Jersey rebuild stronger from Sandy and look forward to continuing to partner on this innovative project.”
“Five years after Sandy, we have reached an incredible milestone that ensures this innovative project is on track to protect our region for decades to come and serve as a national model for resiliency,” said Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “I thank the Hoboken community, including our Community Advisory Group, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and all of the partners who worked to reach consensus and advance this vital project.”
The Rebuild by Design-Hudson River project will minimize the impacts from surge and rainfall flood events as well as mitigate adverse impacts to public health, while providing benefits that will enhance the urbanized area. The development of the project utilized a collaborative process that included a thorough consideration of social, economic, engineering and environmental factors. The process involved extensive outreach, public involvement and agency coordination.
The project, selected for funding as part of a HUD-sponsored national Rebuild By Design (RBD) competition, is the result of a partnership among the DEP, DCA, and the three communities. DCA is administering the funding. As the HUD-designated grantee, DCA is responsible for providing oversight to ensure HUD compliance, while DEP is facilitating design, permitting, and construction.
The project calls for construction of flood structures and stormwater control systems to protect areas vulnerable to flooding. The border between Hoboken and Weehawken, and the southern end of Hoboken, adjacent to Jersey City, are low-lying areas that, during Superstorm Sandy, acted as funnels for flooding. Storm surge rushed through these two areas and joined to cause flooding from the inland side of Hoboken, effectively creating a temporary island.
The strategically placed system will utilize natural higher ground to maximize protection and will be designed to blend in seamlessly with the urban streetscape. It will provide protection for critical infrastructure such as the North Hudson Sewerage Authority, as well as public safety facilities such as three fire stations and a hospital.
Construction is expected to begin in 2019, following formal project design that integrates results of the DEP’s Environmental Impact Statement. Construction is expected to be completed by fall 2022.
The project calls for construction of a flood resistance structure stretching from 19th Street in Weehawken and extending south into Hoboken, slightly inland from the river. An additional flood-resistance structure will be constructed along the southern end of Hoboken.
The design and selection process accommodated the communities’ desire to provide storm surge protection while preserving waterfront access and views of the river and New York City skyline. The DEP has worked closely with a local steering committee to ensure robust public input in the design and selection process.
HUD created the Rebuild by Design competition to promote projects that improve the resilience of urban coastal areas while providing infrastructure that improves quality of life, such as parks and recreation areas. HUD has approved $930 million for Rebuild by Design projects in New Jersey, New York City, and New York State. These resiliency projects are being funded by HUD’s Community Development Block Grants-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program.
For more project information, visit: www.nj.gov/dep/floodresilience/rbd-hudsonriver.htm
For more on HUD’s Rebuild by Design effort, visit: https://www.hud.gov/sandyrebuilding/rebuildbydesign
DEP PHOTO/Hoboken, Manhattan and the Hudson River