CONCORD, Mass. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District (Corps) is currently working on a Coastal Storm Risk Management feasibility study in Fairfield and New Haven Counties, Connecticut and has developed a recommended draft plan for the “Long Wharf” area in New Haven, Connecticut. The non-Federal project partner for the study is the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT DEEP).
This study is authorized by a resolution approved by the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Transportation, dated April 29, 2010. The authorized study area includes approximately 1,700 square miles of coastal and riverine floodplains located within Fairfield and New Haven Counties. Five primary focused-study areas (Stratford, Milford, New Haven, West Haven, and Fairfield) were identified in partnership with the Regional Councils of Governments in Connecticut for initial review. Following site visits and coordination with the CT DEEP, the Town of Fairfield and City of New Haven were selected for further consideration based on level of local support, density of development, and vulnerability to coastal storm damages.
In early 2019, the study team presented an initial suite of coastal storm risk management alternatives to the Town of Fairfield and City of New Haven as part of the study plan formulation process. The proposed alternatives developed for Fairfield would require a significant Federal and non-Federal investment, including the non-Federal responsibility and costs to acquire large tracts of privately owned real estate, as well as a large environmental mitigation component. In discussions with the Town of Fairfield, it was agreed that the potential solutions would be too costly for the community to support at this time but that the community could potentially be the focus of a future Corps coastal storm risk management feasibility study.
The feasibility study plan formulation process considered a range of structural and nonstructural measures to manage the risk of coastal storm damage in the Long Wharf study area. Through an iterative planning process, potential coastal storm risk management measures were identified and alternatives were formulated, evaluated, and compared against each other in order to establish a tentatively selected plan. Initial screening of alternatives identified structural (floodwalls and closure structures) and nonstructural alternatives (wet/dry flood proofing and elevation of residential structures) that would reduce coastal storm risk for the Long Wharf area. These alternatives potentially provide sufficient damage reduction benefits to support justification of a cost-shared coastal storm risk management project.
The Corps Tentatively Selected Plan (TSP) “Alternative 3B” presented in the Draft Integrated Feasibility Report and Environmental Assessment (IFR/EA) addresses the coastal storm risk management issues within the Long Wharf area within the City of New Haven. The TSP consists of the construction of a 6,425 linear-foot coastal floodwall system running parallel to the Interstate 95 embankment. The length of the system consists of 5,950 linear-feet of floodwall and a combined 475 linear-feet of closure structures. The plan includes two pump stations and five deployable roadway closure structures. The system would have a top elevation of +15 feet NAVD88. The plan also includes the potential floodproofing of commercial and residential structures located seaward of the Interstate 95 embankment. Opportunities for floodproofing structures will be further analyzed before the study is completed. Optimization of the plan will occur after public and agency review of the Draft IFR/EA. Optimization of the TSP will include refinements to the plan and design based on any additional study and consideration of comments received during the review process.
The public notice, along with more detailed information on the study, is available for review on the Corps website at: https://www.nae.usace.army.mil/Missions/Projects-Topics/Fairfield-and-New-Haven-Counties-Coastal-Storm-Risk-Management-Feasibility-Study/.
Public comments on this proposed plan should be forwarded no later than Jan. 20, 2020 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, (ATTN: Planning Division, Mr. Byron Rupp), 696 Virginia Road, Concord, MA 01742-2751.