East River Flood Protection Plan Scaled Back; Bridges to Park Eliminated

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During the summer, NY1 reported that plans for a flood barrier along the East River had been scaled back and that construction was being delayed. Now, just ahead of the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, WNYC has more details about the shrinking plan to protect the Lower East Side from future storms.

In a story airing today, WNYC reports that “the groundbreaking (originally scheduled to begin this past June) has been delayed by at least 18 months, and already some of the amenities promised to the community have been removed to cut costs.”

The city is now saying the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project will not begin construction until 2019. Local officials, noted WNYC, have also, “scrapped plans to build… new bridges over the FDR Drive that would have connected public housing residents to the waterfront.”

Back in 2014, the federal government awarded New York City $335 million for the first phase of a larger flood protection plan called the “Big U.” It included flood gates, berms and an enhanced recreational area. In an interview, the mayor’s chief resiliency officer, Daniel Zarrilli, said the city still considers better access to East River Park important, but that there’s not enough money for everything. The delays, added Zarrilli, are due to the complexity of the project.

You can read the full story here, including reaction from locals, and listen to the audio version below. The next waterfront task force meeting takes place Nov. 9 at 6:30 p.m., at Gouverneur Health, 227 Madison St.