2010-05-21 / Front Page

Plan To End Broad Channel Flooding

By Miriam Rosenberg
Just two months after a Nor’easter flooded homes in Broad Channel and required boats to bring people to safety, it was announced that a $24 million project to alleviate the constant monthly flooding Broad Channel residents experience would be in the city budget that begins in July.

Borough President Helen Marshall, during last week’s visit to West 12 Road, announces that a $24 million project to fix flooding problems in Broad Channel will begin this summer. Joining her were Ed Coleman of the Department of Environmental Protection, Queens Commissioner for the DOT Maura McCarthy, State Senator Shirley Huntley, Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer, Councilman Eric Ulrich and Anthony Gulotta, a consulting engineer from Marshall’s office. Borough President Helen Marshall, during last week’s visit to West 12 Road, announces that a $24 million project to fix flooding problems in Broad Channel will begin this summer. Joining her were Ed Coleman of the Department of Environmental Protection, Queens Commissioner for the DOT Maura McCarthy, State Senator Shirley Huntley, Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer, Councilman Eric Ulrich and Anthony Gulotta, a consulting engineer from Marshall’s office. During what was to be a walking tour of West 12 Road, Queens Borough Presi dent Helen Marshall told residents the project scheduled to begin in 2015 will instead begin this summer.

Grace Arnemann, who lives in one of the homes closest to the water, shows Borough President Helen Marshall how high the floodwaters came outside her home during the Nor’easter in March. The fire hydrant in front of the house disappeared under the waters. Grace Arnemann, who lives in one of the homes closest to the water, shows Borough President Helen Marshall how high the floodwaters came outside her home during the Nor’easter in March. The fire hydrant in front of the house disappeared under the waters. “The $24 million areawide project will begin here on West 12 Road and will include additional streets that will be incorporated in order of severity of needs,” said Marshall, who added that West 12 Road would be granted an emergency status and will be worked on first.

Taking part in the project will be the Department of Transportation and the Department of Environmental Protection.

“The Department of Transportation [DOT] will work with the Community Board, elected officials, and their community to fully scope the project and ensure its timely completion,” said Marshall. “The design of the project will begin in July and the start of construction begins next summer.”

Jodi Nocerino showed The Wave one of her Christmas gifts from last year – thigh-high boots (complete with saltwater stains) that she uses when the tides rise. Jodi Nocerino showed The Wave one of her Christmas gifts from last year – thigh-high boots (complete with saltwater stains) that she uses when the tides rise. The DOT will construct a bulkhead on West 12 Road this summer to minimize flooding, but Maura McCar thy, the Queens Commissioner for the DOT, said, “it’s not going to fix the whole problem.”

“We have to do a design of the whole system before we figure out how we can address, on a permanent basis, the flooding in the streets of the area,” McCarthy told The Wave.

After three postponements, including setting the 2015 date, Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer said enough is enough and enlisted Marshall’s help by bringing together advocates for the community for a meeting in the borough president’s office.

“We watched NY 1 video that showed dramatic images of your plight,” said Marshall. “You told us you can’t park your cars on this street without risking hundreds of dollars in damages …. I promised you that day that I would not allow [waiting until 2015] to happen. You have waited far too long already.”

Ed Coleman from the Department of Environmental Protection said the “lack of a bulkhead at the end of the street made it difficult when the tide water would come up and we could not control the tides.”

“With that bulkhead [being put in by the DOT] we’ll be able to address the flooding condition on the other side of it. We plan after the design is finalized … to have spaces that will convert the water to an existing outfall at the east end of West 12 [Road],” said Coleman.

Residents on West 12 Road have waited approximately seven decades for the improvements, according to Grace Ford, 84, who has lived in two homes on the street since she moved there as a child 74 years ago. Like others, her home is now raised off the ground.

[The flooding] been going on since we moved on the block,” said Ford, who recalled when the waters from high tide came into her and her sister’s bedroom right up to their beds.

Judy Heaphy said that when the moon tide comes in “pumping out could last two or three days.”

Jodi Nocerino’s Christmas gift this year shows the day-in and day-out problem of the flooding.

“This is what you get for Christmas when you live in Broad Channel,” said Nocerino, who showed The Wave the thigh-high boots she got last year for when the flood waters come up West 12 Road.

Local activist Dan Mundy asked that the community be involved in the process.

“We have a lot of local knowledge and a lot of history here that could be incorporated with the DOT and the design of this. Maura has been great with her help of bringing the DOT to the table because it’s really the DOT project, which is going to be the raising of the street that will get you people out of the hole for once and for all.”

McCarthy would not commit to raising the street for which Mundy and residents on the block are asking.

Marshall said that residents would be fully involved in the project. She added she would hold the first of many working sessions in July with stakeholders in the project.

“Everybody who is involved needs to come and participate in the planning,” Marshall told residents after her announcement.

Also at the announcement were State Senator Shirley Huntley and Councilman Eric Urlich.

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