Date: Aug 25, 2011
Press Release Number: 97-2011
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is making preparations in advance of the anticipated landfall of Hurricane Irene this weekend. Full staff will be in place to respond, and the agency’s Office of Emergency Management mobile command center will be activated.
In addition to closely monitoring changing conditions and conducting regular briefings internally, the agency is coordinating with the States of New York and New Jersey, external stakeholders and the Federal Aviation Administration, which controls air traffic. Port Authority staff also has taken numerous advance steps at its facilities.
At the Port Authority’s five airports, hundreds of heavy-duty vehicles have been readied and are available, along with dozens of police vehicles, including mobile command centers and heavy-duty rescue equipment. Additional staff and contractor employees will be assisting customers as needed in every area of airport operations, and dozens of airport shuttle buses and drivers can assist in the movement of stranded passengers.
The airports also stock hundreds of cases of bottled water, diapers, cots, blankets and pillows to provide to stranded passengers if necessary, and under terms of the agency’s concession contracts, at least one food vendor in every passenger terminal must remain open 24 hours so that food is available at any time of day or night. The Port Authority also can deploy Central Office staff throughout the airports’ terminals to monitor conditions and supplement airport-based employees who provide customer service, such as assistance with finding hotel rooms or ground transportation.
Workers in the agency’s Tunnels, Bridges and Terminals Department are reviewing high-wind procedures and readying for potential traffic restrictions on vehicles such as tractor-trailers, motorcycles, and car-pulled trailers. All sumps and drains are being checked and sump pits are being pumped down in anticipation of the forecasted heavy rainfall. Important infrastructure, including tunnel sump pumps and emergency generator systems, are being checked and readied.
On the PATH interstate rail system, crews are prepared to combat potential flooding with sandbags and the use of pumps throughout the system, including the deployment of a 1,000-gallon-per-minute, trailer-mounted portable diesel pump that can be used inside PATH tunnels if necessary. Floodgates can be utilized if needed at Hoboken and Exchange Place stations. Portable pumps are being assembled with necessary hoses, and emergency generators are being checked and tested, among other PATH storm preparations.
Staff in the Port Commerce Department has advised its tenants to take necessary precautions, which includes placing sandbags at the base of cargo doors to minimize water intrusion, securing and covering cargo stored outdoors if it cannot be transferred to sheltered areas, and securing cranes, barges, warehouse doors and yard equipment.
World Trade Center staff have notified contractors to secure construction sites and take precautionary measures including but not limited to tying down and securing material and loose debris at construction sites; covering electrical equipment; storing loose tools; and securing netting, scaffolding and sidewalk sheds. Engineers also are implementing plans to secure cranes against the hurricane, while crews also are prepared to use pumps, sandbags and other measures to stem flooding at the site.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
Steve Coleman, 212 435-7777
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which is self-sufficient and does not receive tax dollars from either state, operates many of the busiest and most important transportation links in the region. They include John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International, LaGuardia, Stewart International and Teterboro airports; AirTrain JFK and AirTrain Newark; the George Washington Bridge and Bus Station; the Lincoln and Holland tunnels; the three bridges between Staten Island and New Jersey; the PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) rapid-transit system; Port Newark; the Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal; the Howland Hook Marine Terminal on Staten Island; the Brooklyn Piers/Red Hook Container Terminal; the Port Authority-Port Jersey Marine Terminal and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan. The agency also owns the 16-acre World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan.