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$1.4 billion project to protect East Side from coastal flooding on schedule, but facing opposition from some residents

East Side flooding protection project met with some opposition 02:05

NEW YORK -- Progress is being made on a $1.4 billion project to protect coastal neighborhoods on Manhattan's East Side from flooding.

CBS2's Jenna DeAngelis got an update on the construction Thursday.

"This is a swing gate, it's 36,000 pounds," said NYC Department of Design and Construction Commissioner Thomas Foley.

Foley said Thursday's installation of the massive gate marked a milestone for the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project.

"The purpose of the gates for our resiliency project is to provide protection," Foley said.

The 10-foot gates and flood wall are part of a continuous 2.4-mile barrier being built along the East River to protect the Lower East Side from coastal flooding after Superstorm Sandy.

"This is the city's response for how we can design and build smartly and afford the protections that we need for the community," Foley said.

The moveable gate, parallel to the FDR at 23rd Street, is among 18 being installed to stay open for waterfront access, but can be closed for severe weather events.

"It's not only the walls in this section, but it's also raising the park 8 feet south of here and building a billion-dollar park on top of that," said Foley.

The overhaul of East River Park has been met with some opposition.

Sarah Wellington and Rita Garcia are among residents who want the waterfront green space to be preserved.

"This city is intending to clear cut and demolish an entire 50-acre biodiverse park. You could see behind me right here, that the city already has clear cut over 500 healthy mature trees," Wellington said.

"And replant saplings, which doesn't make sense because it's going to take another 50-80 years," Garcia said.

DeAngelis asked Foley what his response is to arguments from people against the project.

"I think they're actually shortsighted. I don't think that they're looking forward as we all need to for climate change," Foley said.

This leg of the project is set to be completed in fall of 2024. The park is slated for 2026. According to the city, the project is on budget and on time.

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