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Met Section to Sponsor Seminar on Storm Surge Barriers Print E-mail
Delta Works in the Netherlands With global warming and the accelerated rise in sea level, New York City is becoming increasingly at risk from severe coastal flooding during intense nor'easters or hurricanes. Moveable barriers placed at narrow points in the waterways surrounding New York City can protect the inner city and nearby New Jersey from the storm surges that could otherwise cause the type of devastating damage that we recently witnessed in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.

The Metropolitan Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers, together with the New York Academy of Sciences, is presenting a two-day seminar, Against the Deluge: Storm Surge Barriers to Protect New York City, on March 30th and March 31st at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University in Brooklyn.

The seminar will examine the technical feasibility and desirability of protecting the New York metropolitan region with storm surge barriers. The objective of the seminar is to begin to develop the scientific and engineering information base needed to evaluate the barrier concept and perhaps point the way to its further development.

Conceptual Design of Arthur Kill Storm Barrier

Speakers will include experts on coastal defenses from the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, and climate scientists from Stony Brook University and MIT. The conference will also feature conceptual designs of the barriers prepared by four major engineering firms: Parsons Brinckerhoff, Camp Dresser & McKee, Arcadis and Halcrow.

Similar types of storm surge barriers were constructed in New England in the 1960s and in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom following a deadly North Sea storm in 1953 that drowned hundreds in England and more than a thousand people in Holland. These have demonstrated the value of the barriers. In a 1992 nor'easter that flooded lower Manhattan and brought the subway system to a halt; for example, nearby Stamford, Connecticut, was protected by a barrier that was closed during several successive high tides. Engineering leadership is needed now to start the process of developing the storm surge barriers without waiting for the disaster.

See the pdf Event Flyer for the list of speakers, daily programs, and information on registration and sponsorship. See the pdf Abstracts for additional details on the topics that will be discussed. The seminar will offer a total of 10 PDH's.

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