$25 million FEMA grant announced as part of New Haven resiliency project

City of New Haven gets investment to help avoid flooding
Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 9:40 AM EDT
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NEW HAVEN, CT (WFSB) - A $25 million FEMA grant will go towards shoring up New Haven in the event of a disaster.

New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker will join Rep. Rosa DeLauro, Gov. Ned Lamont and other state officials to announce the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities grant for the city’s Inland and Coastal Resiliency Project.

A news conferenced was scheduled for 9:30 a.m. outside of Union Station:

Whenever there are major storms or sometimes even just a quick downpour, Union Avenue often floods.

Important infrastructure is in the area, including the train station and the police department.

The city said a FEMA grant and a couple of projects will hopefully prevent that.

“Flood comes up to our waist sometime, up to our knees. Everybody has to be moved up to the higher floors,” said Ginger James-Barron, of New Haven.

It’s one that can often flow into Ginger’s apartment building.

“The odor is just disgusting with all that wet water,” said Ginger.

That coastal and low-lying flooding is something that’s not gone unnoticed in the Elm City.

“After Sandy we started to really plan and think, this is something that’s going to happen more often, right, that climate change is really going to have dire consequences for our city, not just sea level rise, but more frequent and more intense rainfall events,” said Giovanni Zinn, City Engineer.

Monday New Haven announced a $25 million FEMA grant to address the issue and the plan to tunnel a 10-foot pipe, 45 feet underground, running 3000 feet from Union Avenue to the harbor, and eventually doubling the amount of storm water it can pump back out to the sound.

“It will provide more drainage, it also will provide in conjunction with the Army Corps project drainage when otherwise, the city wouldn’t drain. Water rolls downhill, if the harbor is up hill from where we’re trying to drain, it can’t drain,” said Zinn.

The pipe will work in tandem with a $150 million Army Corps of Engineers project that will build a wall along I-95 in the Long Wharf area, along with flood gates, and a pump station designed to protect infrastructure along the shore.

“Two weeks ago, there was major flooding, right out here and that’s a regular occurrence because this is a low-lying area. We have a lot of flooding here,” said New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker. “Having this wall, pipe, and pump allows us to ensure us in the future that we’re protecting this area.”

While everything is fluid, the city hopes this will be a three-year project with the design and analysis taking up the next year and a half, with construction then starting sometime in 2024.

They said the Flood Mitigation Assistance and BRIC programs provide funds to states, local communities, tribes, and territories for eligible mitigation activities to strengthen the nation’s ability to build a culture of preparedness.

They also said the pre-disaster programs fund projects that invest in a more resilient nation, reduce disaster suffering and avoid future disaster costs, particularly in disadvantaged communities in the face of extreme heat and more severe floods, wildfires, and hurricanes.