First 16-ton moveable flood gate installed at $1.45 billion East Side Coastal Resiliency project: DDC

floodgate image ESCR
A 197-foot-tall Liebherr LTM 1130 crane prepares to lift the first 32,000-pound flood gate into place as part of East Side Coastal Resiliency (DDC image)

The first massive gate to protect the Lower East Side from future coastal flooding was installed today (Feb. 24) as part of the $1.45 billion East Side Coastal Resiliency (ESCR) project. The 42-feet long, 10-feet high, 32,000-pound gate is the first of 18 movable flood gates that will eventually be installed along the 2.4-mile project.

“Swinging and rolling gates are a critical design element of East Side Coastal Resiliency and allow for waterfront access while giving the city the flexibility to seal off areas before a future coastal storm or flood event,” Thomas Foley, commissioner of the New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC), said in a statement. “We look forward to completing flood protection for 110,000 residents and to the open space and recreation improvements that are included in ESCR.”

Linita Design & Mfg. Corp. in Lackawanna manufactured the gate. The $1.45 billion ESCR project is projected to be completed in 2026.

hinges ESCR project
Workers install one of the huge hinges that will anchor the 16-ton flood gate (DDC)

ESCR will create an integrated 2.4-mile system of raised parkland, floodwalls, berms and movable flood gates to create a continuous line of protection against sea level rise and the growing threat of stronger, more severe coastal storms worsened by climate change. The project has been designed to improve waterfront access through reconstructed bridges and entry points and will also upgrade existing sewer systems to capture and manage precipitation during storms.

escr gate in place
The first ESCR flood gate in place. The gate will remain open but can be closed in anticipation of storms or
future flood events to protect 110,000 Lower East Side residents (DDC image)

Construction of ESCR began in November 2020 at Asser Levy Playground, with major construction beginning in April 2021. In June 2021, the city announced almost $140 million of additional funding to add more community amenities as part of ESCR, including new public restrooms, improvements to a park amphitheater and, in a separate capital project, $129 million for the new flyover bridge for the Manhattan Greenway. About 650-feet of the project’s flood wall has been completed.

Floodwall in place ESCR
More than 800 feet of new ESCR floodwall are already complete near the northern end of Stuyvesant Cove Park (DDC image)

The level of flood protection provided by ESCR is equal to the region’s “worst-case” anticipated 100-year storm in 2050, based on future climate change projections produced by the New York City Panel on Climate Change (NPCC), an independent body composed of climate scientists that advises City policymakers on local resiliency and adaptation strategies. The project uses an adaptive design that can accommodate the addition of two more feet of elevation throughout the project area should sea levels in the coming decades rise faster than current projections anticipate.

NYC Parks and NYC Economic Development Corporation are transforming Pier 42 near the southern tip of ESCR into a new waterfront open space. The pier amenities will include a recreation deck with a soccer field, tennis courts, half basketball courts, adult fitness equipment and picnic tables, anticipated to be completed by summer 2022. A new upland park with a playground, comfort station, picnic area, lawns, designated bike path and waterfront views is anticipated to be finished by summer 2023.

Following construction, the 1.9-acre waterfront Stuyvesant Cove Park will be rebuilt with a combination of floodwalls and floodgates along its western edge. The park’s planting beds will be raised where possible to keep tree roots out of the range of future sea level rise. New irrigation systems will be installed and the waterfront esplanade will receive enlarged paving and planting areas as well as new furnishings and energy-efficient LED lights.

The 2.44-acre Asser Levy Playground will be rebuilt with extensive landscaping and new playground and basketball areas using resilient materials. Murphy Brothers Playground and Corlears Hook Park will also see improvements such as new landscaping, plantings, lighting and playground equipment.

Phased construction schedules are also being employed in recreation areas outside East River Park to maximize public access to open space and recreational amenities throughout the entire project’s footprint, DDC says in the statement.

escr rendering
East Side Coastal Resiliency will use a series of berms, flood walls, flood gates and raised parklands to create a continuous 2.4-mile barrier to protect 110,000 residents of the Lower East Side from future coastal flooding (DDC)


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