WEEHAWKEN -- Hoboken isn't the only Hudson County town considering building walls to save itself from flooding during hurricanes.
The township of Weehawken submitted a $12 million application to the Federal Emergency Management Authority (FEMA) Friday to construct two flood defense walls around the Shades neighborhood and along Boulevard East to protect the low-lying parts of town against future Hurricane Sandy-like storm surges, said Mayor Richard Turner this week.
The township’s application was formulated as part of a joint effort with the North Hudson Sewerage Authority (NHSA) to protect the Shades and NHSA’s 18th street pump station.
The application would see the construction of two separate walls. The first, a permanent, concrete reinforced structure that is planned to be somewhere from seven to ten feet tall, will extend eastward from the Palisades cliffs along the Hudson Bergen Light Rail tracks as far as Boulevard East.
The second wall, which is described as “deployable” because it only takes action in the event of a storm surge, will run perpendicular to the first, along Boulevard East through the 19th Street intersection, stopping just north of the basketball court there.
Mayor Richard Turner did not say whether he’d spoken to Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, who proposed a similar plan for her town, about the proposal, but he did say that Weehawken’s design does keep open the possibility of collaborating with Hoboken in the future.
Following Zimmer’s proposal, the Sierra Club issued a press release blasting her floodwalls, saying that if she was to go ahead with her plan, a storm surge deflected from Hoboken could result in massive consequences for neighboring towns. But Turner expressed skepticism at the notion.
“The Hudson River basin is enormous, any water that can’t get through our walls will most likely just go back into the river,” he said. “I don’t think we’ll be threatening other towns with our plan.”
For more on this story, see the Weehawken Reporter this weekend, or come back to hudsonreporter.com starting Sunday and scroll down to Weehawken News.