The City Council on Thursday approved a controversial plan to protect parts of Manhattan from future storms by building 2.5 miles of barriers along the East River.
Lawmakers voted in favor of the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project, which would build the barriers to prevent the kind of flooding that ravaged New York City during Hurricane Sandy.
But it comes with a hefty price tag: the plan is expected to cost $1.4 billion. The final plan is about twice the cost of the previous proposal.
Construction is expected to begin next year.
People who live in the area argued the plan, which has been years in the making, would remove thousands of trees and force the partial closure East River Park. The city agreed to close the park in stages, keeping about 40 percent of it open at all times.
The final plan will elevate portions of East River Park up to eight feet to protect it from storm surges and build a series of berms, levees, walls, and green spaces rising up to 16 feet. It reflects revisions to address local concerns about overhauling the park a newly refurbished green space with ball fields, playgrounds, and a track.
Nearly a thousand trees, some 80 years old, will be taken down. But the city agreed to replace them and add nearly 1,000 more, though it will take time for them to grow.
Some have also raised red flags over what they say is a lack of interim measures should the area see severe flooding during construction.
Some also believe the plan will be used as a justification to drive up rents and force people out of their homes.
The bill heads to Mayor Bill de Blasio's office for his signature.
"The passage of the East Side Coastal Resiliency project takes a critical step forward in protecting 110,000 New Yorkers from dangers this city knows all too well," the mayor said in a statement.
By a unanimous vote, a City Council subcommittee approved the plan Tuesday.
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