Saturday, January 7, 2017

Between the Bridges in Broad Channel

Between the Bridges in Broad Channel
Peter J. Mahon
January 5th,   2017


The Broad Channel Tidal Flooding Mitigation and Street Reconstruction Project currently underway on West 11th and 12th Roads has been a long time coming.  Many people are under the impression that this project is a direct result of Super Storm Sandy's impact on our town back in 2012 but, in fact, this project actually stems from a decades long battle on the part of the community and involved city agencies. The community of Broad Channel has long suffered from deteriorating street infrastructure, unsafe conditions and property damage caused by routine and serious tidal street flooding. For years, numerous requests for assistance were made to city agencies and elected officials by individual residents, the Broad Channel Civic Association and elected officials. all of which resulted in nothing more than vague assurances on the part of the city that it was aware of this issue and “was working on plans to mitigate” the problem.  Nonetheless, in keeping with the the city's bureaucratic "rule of no one", years passed with no action being taken to address this problem until May of 2010 when (then) Borough President Helen Marshall personally came to West 12th Road and held a press conference to announce that $24 million in funds had been allocated to fund a capital construction project addressing the problem of tidal street flooding. Shortly thereafter The RBA Group was chosen as the project's design firm and after a not insignificant delay caused by Super Storm Sandy in 2012 , EIC Associates, Inc., was chosen as the project contractor and work on West 12th Road finally started in early September of 2014.  

Although the project's contractual completion date for West 11th and 12th Roads was stipulated as June of 2017, there was much talk on the part of  DDC and others during mid 2016 that work was proceeding so well that it was anticipated that a substantial completion of street work on West 11th and 12th Road might be achieved as early as December 2016.  

As 2016 drew to a close, the residents of West 11th and 12th Roads in Broad Channel were looking forward to the 2017 New Year in anticipation of enjoying their brand new raised streets complete with brand new end of street bulkheads. Unfortunately, It recently became known that work has been delayed and the previously scheduled substantial completion date for bulkhead, infrastructure and street work on West 11th and 12th Roads which was to be achieved via accelerated work scheduling is no longer attainable and the contractor (EIC Associates, Inc.) is now citing the June 2017 completion date stipulated in company's contract with the city (DDC). The exact reasons for this delay are far from defined at this point with only non specific causative factors (ie: "tidal flooding" and "weather") being offered at this time. 

To complicate matters even further, even the original contractual project completion date of June 2017 is now apparently unattainable as the city has struck a deal requiring the project contractor to "pause" all construction activity on West 11th and 12th Roads effective March 1, 2017, to allow Build it Back access to those streets to complete scheduled elevations/rebuilds of some 30+ properties. When Build it Back will complete its work and return the streets to EIC Associates so that they may complete the street work is, at best, anyone's guess at this point.

Concerns regarding the insertion of the Build it Back program into the midst of the street reconstruction project currently raises more questions than actual answers.  Nevertheless, bulkhead and street raising project activity has been ongoing since September of 2014 and the present delay (for undefined reasons) coupled with the now planned work stoppage to accommodate BIB on March 1st was both unplanned for and came as a a complete surprise to all W12th Road residents who were looking forward to the previously mentioned December 2016 substantial completion date.  The community deserves a complete explanation of what has brought us to this point and a realistic overview of what we can expect from this time forward.  The Broad Channel Civic Association is particularly upset as they have been attending monthly meetings for a year at the Queens Borough President's Office where it has been consistently maintained by the contractor that both West  11th and 12th Roads would have major road work completed by Jan 1st, 2017.

Right now, absent information unavailable to me, it appears that West 11th and 12th Roads are looking at yet another summer without benefit of a finished street!

Broad Channel, who would anyone want to live an anywhere else?

1 comment:

  1. Sophia Vailakis-DeVirgilioJanuary 7, 2017 at 4:58 PM

    Let's remember that the main push to getting the street raising project started at all, was due to the meeting at the Borough President's office on April 16th 2010 where 28 residents of West 12th Road showed up with NY1 in-tow, after a particularly harsh nor'easter from March 31st to April 1st that saw a very high tide right up to the Boulevard. If not for the large number of people at this meeting who came prepared with eye-witness accounts, pictures, a "we're mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore" attitude, and NY1 (who was not allowed inside to witness the meeting), the funding for the capital project to raise our streets would have found another use.

    Below, is the brief history of this issue and how it was superbly documented by this very blog: