THE PORT AUTHORITY OF NY & NJ

Press Release Article


PORT AUTHORITY PREPARED FOR HURRICANE JOAQUIN

Date: Oct 01, 2015
Press Release Number: 144-2015

Agency on high alert in advance of major coastal storm

The Port Authority is making preparations in advance of the potential arrival of a significant coastal storm this weekend, which forecasters say could bring hurricane or tropical storm force winds, heavy rain, high tides and coastal flooding to the region.

The agency has positioned and is prepared to deploy nearly 16,000 linear feet, or nearly 4 miles of flood barriers to protect critical transportation facilities, in addition to more than 170 generators and pumps to ensure continuity of service. The agency also will activate its Emergency Operations Center this weekend to monitor the changing weather conditions as the storm approaches. The agency will have a full complement of staff at all of its transportation facilities to ensure that the hundreds of thousands of customers who use them each day can be safely accommodated during this severe weather event.

Since Superstorm Sandy hit the region in 2012, the Port Authority has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in repair and resiliency measures and additional work continues at all of the agency's facilities. Projects include the installation of stop-logs, HESCO sand barriers, concrete barriers, emergency generators and additional pumping capacity. To mitigate damage from future storms like Hurricane Joaquin, the Port Authority has more than 170 generators capable of providing nearly 50 megawatts of emergency power; more than 5,500 feet of flood-barrier stop logs; more than 2,500 linear feet of concrete bin blocks; more than 300 linear feet of concrete barriers; more than 6,500 linear feet of sand-filled barriers and more than 1,000 linear feet of aqua fencing.

At the region's major airports, a number of resiliency projects have been undertaken since Superstorm Sandy. At LaGuardia Airport, a large generator was installed at the airport pump house to ensure that water can be quickly pumped off the airfield. At Newark Liberty International Airport, a major drainage project was recently completed to diminish the severity of flooding on runways and taxiways. The agency also is installing tide gates to protect runways at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

At all of the agency's airports, officials have begun taking precautions including securing any outdoor loose materials and notifying tenants and lessees to take preparatory steps; checking and clearing all storm drains and roadway gutters; servicing and fueling all vehicles, generators and pumps; preparing and placing sand bags and preparing traffic control equipment such as cones and barrels.

As the storm approaches, the Port Authority strongly advises airline passengers to check with their carriers on the status of their flight. In the past, airlines have cancelled flights in advance of forecast storms. The agency strongly urges customers not to go to the airports unless they are certain that their flight will be departing.

In addition, all Customer Care Representatives will be available to provide assistance with basic items (water, diapers and baby formula) for any passengers who may be stranded. Certain food vendors in each passenger terminal must remain open 24 hours to accommodate passengers who may be in the terminal.

Workers in the agency's Tunnels, Bridges and Terminals Department are reviewing high wind procedures and readying for potential traffic restrictions or closings. All sewers and drains are being checked and sump pits are being pumped down in anticipation of the forecasted heavy rainfall. And plans are being made to bring in police, operations and maintenance staff, as required, in advance of the storm. At the Port Authority Bus Terminal, staff is coordinating with all of the terminal's bus carriers to determine their service plans in the coming days.

On PATH, crews are preparing to combat potential flooding with the installation of new flood protection barriers that were constructed since Sandy to mitigate potential damage. Additionally, sandbags, and pumps will be deployed at stations, tunnels, and key locations throughout the system, including a trailer-mounted portable diesel pump that can be used inside PATH tunnels, if necessary. PATH is also making contingency preparations to move its rolling stock to higher and drier ground if necessary.

The Port Commerce Department has advised all tenants, customers and partners to start taking precautions to avoid property damage and operational disruptions. Since Superstorm Sandy, the Port Authority has installed additional pumps, lights and generators at the port, hardened and elevated critical components of lift and pump stations, raised electrical equipment in Port Jersey and installed protective barriers at the Administration Building at the New Jersey Marine Terminal complex.

The World Trade Center staff will notify contractors to secure construction sites and take precautionary measures including tying down and securing material and loose debris at construction sites; storing loose tools; and securing netting, banners, scaffolding and sidewalk sheds. Engineers also are implementing plans to secure cranes against the storm's winds, while crews are preparing to use pumps, sandbags and other measures to stem flooding.

CONTACT:
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
212-435-7777

Founded in 1921, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey builds, operates, and maintains many of the most important transportation and trade infrastructure assets in the country. The agency's network of aviation, ground, rail, and seaport facilities is among the busiest in the country, supports more than 550,000 regional jobs, and generates more than $23 billion in annual wages and $80 billion in annual economic activity. The Port Authority also owns and manages the 16-acre World Trade Center site, where construction crews are building the iconic One World Trade Center, which is now the tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere. The Port Authority receives no tax revenue from either the State of New York or New Jersey or from the City of New York. The agency raises the necessary funds for the improvement, construction or acquisition of its facilities primarily on its own credit. For more information, please visit http://www.panynj.gov.