Ocean Barriers? Inflatable Protection For Transit Infrastructure? All Are On Table

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — As the region works to recover from Superstorm Sandy, it is also looking ahead to the next big one — and what can be done to limit the damage.

Even as the Tri-State Area dries out from Sandy’s watery surge, many are drawing up plans to harden our defenses against future storms.

Some want a plan from the Army Corps of Engineers to determine if it makes sense to build massive barriers to push a storm surge back into the sea.

“We need that plan to show us what we can do where, so we know which techniques, which methods will work in which place,” City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

Already there are concerns gates to protect the city could push water towards Long Island, New Jersey or up the Hudson River.

“If you protect one area, does it mean more water for some of the surrounding communities?” said Dr. Radley Horton, an associate research scientist at Columbia University.

There are also proposals to rework building codes. CBS 2’s Aiello saw the basement of Haven Plaza on Avenue C on Tuesday. All of the electrical equipment was ruined by the flood waters that rushed in all the way from the East River.

The new equipment was relocated above ground — something New York City may eventually mandate.

“That’s the right thing to do! No basement,” one area resident said.

There are proposals for inflatable barriers to better protect transportation infrastructure, and for bolstering natural defenses such as wetlands, marshlands and sand dunes.

There will also be tough questions about rebuilding right to the edge of the ocean.

“Where we rebuild and where we don’t rebuild is going to be something we have to look at,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

In Sandy’s wake, it’s an opportunity not just to rebuild, but to rethink.

In New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie said the storm will lead to zoning and building changes, and when pressing immediate concerns are met, he said he will start focusing on the long term.

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