Governor Phil Murphy and United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Marcia Fudge today broke ground on the Rebuild by Design Hudson River Project in Hoboken. The resilient infrastructure project, made possible by over $230 million in Superstorm Sandy recovery funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, has been in the planning stages for several years and will protect communities along the Hudson River from storm surge flooding and rising sea-level threats posed by climate change. Governor Murphy and Secretary Fudge celebrated the groundbreaking alongside several federal, state, and local partners including U.S. Senator Cory Booker, Congressman Albio Sires, Acting Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Shawn LaTourette, Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla, and Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development authorized funding for the project as part of a design competition that followed widespread flooding from Superstorm Sandy in October 2012. The Rebuild by Design project is a national model for resilient infrastructure and the project’s comprehensive approach to resilience consists of four integrated components -- resist, delay, store and discharge -- to manage storm surge. These components include a combination of hard infrastructure and soft landscaping to defend against storm surge and flooding, interconnected infrastructure to store and control stormwater runoff, and water pumps and other drainage projects to support controlled drainage during and after storms.
The groundbreaking represents the start of construction on the first phase of the project, a $5.26 million investment in modifications that include much-needed upgrades to portions of Hoboken’s aging infrastructure. This work will convert portions of the area’s combined sewer system into separate sanitary and stormwater lines, an essential first step in improving stormwater management and a critical aspect of municipal resilience. This work will pave the way for the larger contract to install flood-risk reduction infrastructure.
“Our partnership with both the federal and local government to build a stronger and more resilient future for New Jersey’s waterfront communities is transformational,” said Governor Murphy. “The comprehensive and innovative Rebuild by Design infrastructure project will mitigate the range of weaknesses along the Hudson River exposed by Superstorm Sandy and provide a suite of innovative solutions to address sea-level rise. Smart, future-focused infrastructure that will make our communities more resilient from the adverse effects of climate change, while creating good-paying jobs, is the future of American infrastructure.”
“Superstorm Sandy devastated communities throughout the tri-state region,” said Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. “We needed bold action to rebuild and prevent damage from future natural disasters. I am proud to join Governor Murphy in this groundbreaking, made possible by a partnership between local, state, and federal government. This site is an example of the powerful promise of investing in our infrastructure to ensure more resilient and prosperous communities for generations to come.”
“I am pleased to welcome Secretary Fudge to New Jersey as we take an important step forward in this critical project to protect families and businesses from the threat of future flooding,” said U.S. Senator Cory Booker. “Rebuild by Design is an innovative way to protect communities from devastation like New Jersey experienced during Superstorm Sandy, and I am grateful to all the officials from HUD, New Jersey, Hoboken, and the surrounding communities that made this possible. I look forward to working with Secretary Fudge, Governor Murphy, and Mayor Bhalla to see this project through to completion.”
“The critical Resist, Delay, Store and Discharge project will make Hoboken’s infrastructure more resilient and help protect the city, as well as Weehawken and Jersey City, from flooding and other natural disasters,” said Congressman Albio Sires. “It will also create good jobs in the district and promote environmental justice. I’m proud to work with Governor Murphy and our federal and local partners in this effort.”
“Help is finally here for Hoboken in our effort to substantially reduce flood risk with today’s historic groundbreaking of Rebuild by Design,” said Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla. “This project will now serve as a model for the rest of the country, integrating proven resiliency features with community amenities and a park that will help prevent storm surge from breaching our community, like it did during Superstorm Sandy. I’m very grateful to our partners in government at the federal, state and local levels for their steadfast commitment to helping Hoboken adapt to climate change, and look forward to the project’s completion in the years ahead.”
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has worked closely with the Hudson river communities since 2014 to design a project that works seamlessly to enhance the aesthetics of the community. The Resist structure design consists of an 8,846-foot series of flood protection measures, barriers, roller gates and other measures to provide flood risk reduction to the population and infrastructure within the project area’s 100-year floodplain. This work will also protect critical infrastructure, including hospitals, emergency services such as firehouses and a hospital, and the North Hudson Sewerage Authority’s treatment plan. Construction of the Resist structure is scheduled to start in early 2022 and will run through 2025.
“Now we are beginning!” said Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner. “This has been an extremely complicated and, at times a difficult process. I want to thank all those involved in this tremendous undertaking. I look forward to its competition for the safety of Weehawken, Hoboken and Jersey City residents.
“Hoboken is truly on the frontline of climate change, experiencing what would have been a 50 year-occasional flood every few months,” said Ed Potosnak, Executive Director, New Jersey LCV. “Mayor Bhalla and the Murphy Administration know the tremendous risks that Hoboken, a cultural gem of New Jersey, is facing. This transformative project will help mitigate the damage to homeowners and businesses from stormwater runoff. We must continue to invest in our communities and shared infrastructures, and at a time when we need to get people back to work and build a more sustainable and equitable New Jersey, this is a great step in the right direction."
“We know that severe flooding can completely upend people’s lives for years as they struggle to deal with the damage to their property, finances, and physical and mental health,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver who serves as Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs. “That is why the State is proud to be investing resources into programs like the one we are announcing today that are proven to reduce people’s long-term risk of severe flooding and to promote more resilient communities.”
“Climate change is not some far off prospect; it is here now, and its impacts on New Jersey communities will only worsen,” said New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Acting Commissioner Shawn LaTourette. “The Rebuild-by-Design Hudson River Project is an innovative investment in New Jersey’s infrastructure and an example of the climate resilience engineering that will help protect New Jersey from climate threats. Once fully complete, RBD-Hudson River will protect lives, property and infrastructure along the Hudson River, and represents just one of many nation-leading efforts that New Jersey is undertaking to reduce and respond to climate change.”
To learn more about the Rebuild by Design Hudson River Project, click here.
(press release above courtesy of the Office of Governor Murphy)