The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has announced the award of nearly $298 million in construction contracts for two landmark flood resilience projects in northern New Jersey.
The flood resilience projects are funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Rebuild by Design competition grant program.
The projects — one within Hoboken and parts of Jersey City and Weehawken and another in the Meadowlands communities of Little Ferry, Carlstadt, Moonachie, South Hackensack and Teterboro — represent major milestones in protecting these regions from flooding resulting from more severe storms and sea-level rise associated with the worsening effects of climate change.
“The Rebuild by Design project is critical to making our community more resilient to the increasing effects of climate change, protecting Hoboken from storm surge flooding like the city experienced with Superstorm Sandy,” said Hoboken Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla. “I look forward to breaking ground on the resist element at Harborside Park in the coming months so that residents can reap the benefits of a beautiful waterfront park that will also help remove 80 percent of the city from the flood zone. This project will help end the cycle of destruction and rebuilding that has impacted our homes and neighbors.”
Rebuild By Design Hudson overview
E.E. Cruz & Company of Whitestone, New York was awarded a $251 million contract for work related to the Rebuild by Design Hudson River (RBD-Hudson) Project.
This work entails construction of more than 9,000 linear feet of floodwall, installation of floodgates and construction of berms and levees, comprehensively referred to as resist structures, to provide barriers during extreme high tide and storm surge events. The structures will be blended into the fabric of the project area, including Harborside Park in Hoboken (to be renamed Cove Park), by incorporating seating, planters, lighting, and educational and artistic murals.
The project will also include a comprehensive stormwater drainage component through the installation of curb and sidewalk drains and the removal of impervious pavement. The DEP issued the Notice to Proceed to E.E. Cruz & Company on August 7, triggering the beginning of preliminary work and preparatory activities. More significant construction activities including utility relocation and the beginning of construction of the floodwall elements are anticipated to begin in early 2024.
The Sewer Separation Modification contract, the first phase of the RBD-Hudson project, was completed in July 2022 for approximately $7 million in construction costs. The contract paid for infrastructure to separate portions of the combined sewer system in Hoboken to ensure that water from a storm surge event will not undermine the resilience structures once constructed. This will also better protect public health by preventing the mixture of wastewater with stormwater during flooding events.
Work on the Sewer Separation Modification contract included sealing more than 100 existing utility maintenance holes, as well as installation of more than 30 additional utility maintenance holes, 40 catch basins, more than 4,000 linear feet of stormwater pipe, and eight stormwater treatment devices.
Rebuild By Design Meadowlands overview
Union Paving & Construction Company of Mountainside, New Jersey was awarded a $46.6 million contract related to the Rebuild by Design Meadowlands (RBD-Meadowlands) Project.
This work will entail installation of a new pump station and force main in Little Ferry to improve drainage in the Losen Slote Creek watershed, and the removal of a decommissioned tide gate foundation that currently obstructs flow within Losen Slote Creek.
This project will reduce the risk of frequent rainfall flooding and speed up the recovery from storm surge flooding within the Losen Slote Creek watershed located in Little Ferry and neighboring towns. The DEP issued the Notice to Proceed to Union Paving & Construction Company on August 14, with onsite construction beginning this fall.
A second pump station is planned for construction next year in Carlstadt, followed by channel improvements and bridge replacements in Carlstadt and Moonachie to increase the capacity of East Riser Ditch and help reduce flood risk to the region.
Rebuild By Design background
The DEP’s Division of Resilience Engineering and Construction will lead both construction efforts within the project areas, which were selected due to their vulnerability to receive significant flooding as a result of more frequent heavy rainfall, high tide and storm surge events.
The goals of the Rebuild by Design projects are to decrease flood risk, cultivate ecology with native plantings and energize communities with improvements to local parks. Benefits of the projects include protecting residents from flood hazards and damage, reducing street closures due to flooding, improving water quality, reducing urban heat-island effect, and enhancing residents’ sense of place.
Rebuilding and strengthening the resilience of communities affected by Superstorm Sandy was the goal of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Rebuild by Design competition grant program, which launched in the summer of 2013 as a result of the devastation that resulted in New Jersey and neighboring states. The DEP Rebuild by Design projects represent two of the six winning concepts of the competition; $230 million was awarded for the Hudson project and $150 million for the Meadowlands project.
Since the initial award from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, both projects have been awarded additional funds, including from American Rescue Plan funding and FEMA’s Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities fund.
The DEP’s newly updated climate change website includes a more user-friendly homepage and a collection of interactive story maps titled Climate Change in New Jersey: Impacts and Effects, which provide up-to-date climate change research, build upon the findings of the 2020 NJ Scientific Report on Climate Change, and use a direct, easy-to-understand format that includes maps, photos, graphs, animations and more.