The wall is coming. Questions about plans to build a 5.3 mile sea wall on Staten Island’s east shore drew dozens of borough residents to Staten Island technical high school Monday night for a town hall on the pending project.
“We do come here united that this sea wall is an incredibly important project that we have got to get done as quickly and effectively and safely as possible,” said Congressman Max Rose.
The $615 million project is meant to shore up a coastline devastated by the angry floods of Hurricane Sandy. Made up of levees, berms and seawalls, it will stretch from Fort Wadsworth near the Verrazzano Bridge all the way to Great Kills.
Some construction on the project has begun, but much of it will be done in segments to allow for the plan’s complexities.
The entire thing is expected to be finished in the winter of 2025. But with its many delays, some who turned out expressed skepticism about it.
“I don’t think it will ever happen. We’re talking at least a billion dollars and I truly think politics is going to get in the way and it’ll never happen,” said resident Mimi Spillane.
Politics did get in the way, at least for a moment as one woman blasted Congressman Max Rose over his choice not to support a wall at the country’s southern border.
The woman eventually left, and Rose and Oddo continued to field questions about the project to be led by the U.S. Army Corp of engineers. Officials estimate the 20-foot sea wall will reduce damage to the area by some $30 million annually over a 50-year period.
“When they are gonna start the sea wall. How long will it take, and if it’s going to improve the insurance rates,” said Bill Owens.
“I’m frustrated because sandy happened seven years ago. For seven years we’ve been waiting for action. We’ve gone through 2 presidents we’ve gone through two congressmen, two borough presidents, and we want action,” said one person.
But many of the questions have a wait and see answer. The army Corp of engineers is planning to host several more town halls to answer concerns and questions as work on the project progresses.