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Elevated boardwalk in Staten Island to provide New York flood resilience

A multi-use elevated promenade is to be built in Staten Island, New York, to strengthen coastal resilience.

State governor Andrew Cuomo announced US$151m (£118m) in funding for the project, which is designed to protect communities and enhance waterfront access. A series of community-based design forums will ensure input and engagement in the final design.

The 11.2km-long seawall stretching from Fort Wadsworth to Oakwood Beach will protect communities from severe coastal flooding, while creating new wetland habitats and recreational amenities, including a promenade, biking and walking pathways and easy access to public beaches.

“This innovative project takes into account the diverse needs of the affected communities, protecting against future devastating weather events, enhancing access to the shore, creating vibrant, thriving wetlands and bringing peace of mind to those living along the Staten Island coastline,” said Cuomo. “New York will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that vulnerable communities are equipped with resources to protect against extreme weather while incorporating community input and building for future growth.”

The seawall will be built up to 6m above sea level to protect against a storm at least the size of Superstorm Sandy – the ‘300 year-level’ storm.

The multi-use promenade can support a range of recreational activities, including outdoor concerts, beer and food tastings, cultural festivals, nature walks, seaside carnivals, bike races, running competitions, environmental education, and other events and community gatherings.

The project also includes the construction of flood resilient wetlands in Oakwood Beach, where the governor’s Office of Storm Recovery purchased more than 300 properties after Superstorm Sandy.

A final design will be complete in the winter of 2018. Construction is slated to begin in 2019 and be completed in 2022.

Staten Island is particularly vulnerable to flooding, and when Hurricane Sandy hit, the borough contained the highest percentage of New York City residents living within a floodplain. Flooding affected roughly 16% of the borough, or 75,651 residents. Damage occurred to 2,499 Staten Island residential homes and businesses; assessments indicated US$269.16m in damage from Hurricane Sandy to Staten Island alone.