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Army Corps proposes concrete and steel barrier wall to combat NYC floods

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The barrier would stretch across the New York Harbor and could cost as much as $20 billion

Max Touhey.

In an effort to protect New York’s vulnerable areas from another Hurricane Sandy-like storm, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has proposed building a huge barrier, constructed from steel and concrete, that would stretch more than 2,150 square miles along the New York Harbor, sectioning off the harbor from the Atlantic Ocean.

According to WNYC, the Army Corps is in the process of explaining the proposal in a series of public information sessions that began on Monday and will carry on through Wednesday. There will be five options presented at those sessions, with four of them including some sort of storm surge barrier to protect the city’s waterfront. After the presentations, the Army Corps will allow for public input on key issues that should be addressed during the environmental impact study, reports AP News.

As it stands, the various options for the proposed barrier include a five-mile-long barrier at the southernmost border of the bay between Sandy Hook, New Jersey and Breezy Point in the Rockaways; a barrier between Staten Island and Brooklyn with gates across the entrance points to Jamaica Bay and Arthur Kill; or a series of berms and sea walls along low-lying portion of New York and New Jersey’s waterfronts.

However, the proposed barriers are already drawing criticism, with nonprofit environmental organization Riverkeeper saying that several of the plans, especially the ones that call for in-water barriers, would “threaten the very existence of the Hudson as a living river.” In an article on its site, the organization states that the only acceptable approach is is one that “relies entirely on shoreline-based floodwalls and levees” that would protect low-lying communities from both storm surge and flooding from rainstorms.

Additionally, politicians like New York State Senator Terrence Murphy has accused the Army Corps of “fast-tracking the proposals with insufficient public notice and participation,” notes AP News.

Curbed reached out the the Army Corps for comment but did not immediately hear back.