DDC Provides Progress on Completion of Part of East Side Coastal Resiliency Floodwall

Construction workers creating wave patterns in concrete exterior of the floodwall. Image Credit: NYC DDC.

The phased construction of the project ensures there will still be parkspace and waterfront accessible to residents during the duration of the project. On October 6, 2021, the NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) announced the completion of 500 feet of floodwall as part of the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project (ESCR). The new floodwall has been installed in the area north of Stuyvesant Cove Park along the East River. The ESCR project is City’s most complex coastal resiliency project so far, which will improve flood protection, waterfront access, parks, playgrounds, and other recreation facilities along the East River between East 25th Street to Montgomery Street. For CityLand’s prior coverage of the ESCR project, click here.

Before work could begin on the floodwall, crews relocated underground utilities such as gas and electrical lines to make it possible to work beneath the surface. The floodwall is created with two different kinds of piles, which start 100 feet or more into the ground. First, sheet piles are installed to form an underground barrier against water infiltration from the East River; standard H-piles in the form of large steel beams are then installed behind the sheeting to form the anchor of the new floodwall. Next, the floodwall is cast on top of the H-piles using concrete forms, which create a decorative wave pattern in the exposed concrete when removed. Sewers are threaded through openings created for them in the subsurface sheet piles to allow for discharge of stormwater in heavy rain events.

Currently, work is taking place on the floodwall that will be installed in Asser Levy Playground and the northern end of Stuyvesant Cove Park. The 1.9-acre Stuyvesant Cove Park will be rebuilt with a combination of floodwalls and floodgates alone the western edge. In addition, the planting beds will be raised to protect the park’s trees’ roots, as well as new irrigation systems and the waterfront will receive enlarged paving and plating areas and new energy efficient LED light. The neighboring, 2.44-acre Asser Levy playground will be rebuilt with extensive landscaping and a new playground and basketball court using resilient materials.

The next phase of ESCR project will take place later this month in East River Park. The use of phased construction has been an essential component of the ESCR project to ensure that some park space and amenities will still be available to the over 110,000 New Yorkers who live on the East Side throughout the construction. The project is expected to cost $1.45 billion in total and be completed in 2025.

DDC Commissioner Jamie Torres-Springer stated, “ESCR continues to make progress and every day brings us closer to providing flood protection to more than 100,000 New Yorkers. It’s great to see tangible, visible evidence that we can implement a massive, life-saving coastal protection program that will also increase recreation and access to the waterfront.”

NYC Parks Commissioner Gabrielle Fialkoff stated, “The work at Asser Levy Playground and Stuyvesant Cove Park represents a crucial step in providing resilient park improvements and integrated flood protection for the surrounding community. We continue transforming underused spaces into recreational assets, including three new turf fields in Midtown, for the neighborhood to enjoy while ESCR construction progresses.”

By: Taylor Barje (Taylor is the CityLaw intern and a New York Law School student, Class of 2022.)



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