Toll of natural disasters sparks resiliency projects
The sudden onset of a natural disaster creates immediate havoc, and the cost of destruction that has become the norm is huge. To counter the cold unpredictability and extremely high costs of protecting the country’s environment, officials at various levels of government are announcing resiliency projects. Federal and state funding for infrastructure resiliency projects is historically high, and that is because environmental conditions continue trending toward the volatile.
Connecticut’s governor has directed state funding to a plan that encourages a similar goal – the launching of resiliency projects that meet certain needs throughout the state. State funding has been authorized for the next two years, and a pilot program for local microgrid development is planned. Afterward, state leaders are making plans to support local communities as they build out microgrids of their own.
The state of Maryland also is beginning to fund projects that include various types of resiliency-related projects that will soon offer numerous contracting opportunities. The state’s Department of Transportation (MDOT) is organizing large-scale projects such as the Dundalk Marine Terminal Resiliency and Flood Mitigation Improvement plan. Funding for this project has been made available to bolster flood mitigation at the terminal. With an estimated cost of $36.7 million, the project will allow the port’s cargo terminal to operate with resiliency as well as efficiency under extreme weather conditions. By installing sea curbs and other structural components, the terminal’s construction will be upgraded significantly – to the level of being able to counter storm-surge flooding in the future.
There are other resiliency projects in Maryland such as the Baltimore Anacostia Watershed Restoration plan. This project’s objective is to restore elements of the Anacostia River watershed’s aquatic ecosystem. The focus will also promote resiliency by constructing unimpeded fish passages and better-connected marine habitats.
In Jackson County, Illinois, a project relating to resiliency is designed to restore Oakwood Bottoms to its natural condition within the Mississippi River Floodplain. That objective will be to drain manmade ditches of water and degrade the wetland environment. Sponsored by the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the project was targeted with an initial $525,000 in funding for the design stage and a subsequent $675,000. The design phase has been ongoing in 2021, and solicitations for contractors are scheduled to be released in 2022. Contractors will be needed to install 25 water control structures, construct four deep-well pump stations, enhance 62,000 feet of wetland berms, reforest 4,000 acres of forestland, and replant 300 acres with foliage native to a wetland habitat. The project carries a total projected cost of $26.3 million.
Another large resiliency project in New York will be launched to harden the region against natural disasters. The Red Hook/Brooklyn Coastal Resiliency plan will establish permanent flood protection infrastructure and seawalls. The project also will have additional funding to cover deployable instruments of flood mitigation such as rolling gates. The project which falls within a coastal zone of New York has already progressed through an estimated 30 percent of the necessary design work. Once that work is completed and approved by FEMA, solicitations will be released for contracting partners. Funding for the project has been included in the New York City mayor’s $20 billion initiative to improve citywide infrastructure resiliency against flooding.
Much more funding will be available for resiliency projects in 2022. In fact, the recently approved Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act has allocated $50 billion for resiliency projects throughout the country. There’s no doubt about the critical need for this type of work, and thousands of resiliency contracting opportunities will be available throughout the U.S. in 2022.