STAMFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork) — Workers in one community in Fairfield County, Connecticut have been hustling to finish up work on a flood control project designed to thwart hurricane storm surges.

As CBS2’s Lou Young reported, a man was seen on a radio Wednesday afternoon, talking to a diver down in the murky waters of Stamford Harbor.

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It was a final push to finish maintenance on the hurricane gate that projects the low-lying coastal city on the Long Island Sound – an area that saw damaging coastal surges in several recent storms.

The goal is to get everything done before the possible effects of Hurricane Joaquin hit the area.

Nearly all models now suggest Joaquin will make landfall as a Category 2 storm Sunday, on the Outer Banks of North Carolina or northern portions of South Carolina. But those models still puts New York City and the rest of the Tri-State Area in a cone in which they will be affected, CBS2’s Lonnie Quinn reported.

“We want to see this repaired; finished; complete before we see any signs of Hurricane Joaquin coming our way,” said Stamford Public Safety Director Ted Jankowski. This is our safety net against storm tidal surge.”

The gate has been in place since the late 1960s – built and operated by the Army Corps of Engineers after a series of disastrous coastal floods. It is the linchpin of an earth-and-stone dike system maintained by the city to keep rising waters at bay.

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“It’s 17 foot at some locations, all the way up to a maximum of 19 feet,” Jankowski said, adding that if th gate were not there, “we would have severe flooding in downtown Stamford.”

The hurricane gate itself is so incredibly heavy that it cannot be lifted up. Crews open it by allowing it toile it down in the water.

But it can stand up to anything nature has yet produced. When Superstorm Sandy hit with the historic high water mark for all history for this point rose to just over 11 feet on a gauge on the gate — and it held.

While work is under way, boats inside the barrier are stuck where they area. But Joaquin, as it prowls to the Atlantic, lends certain urgency to the labor.

“It’s 12- to 16-hour days,” said project manager Diana Errico. “Right now, it’s turning out to be two of those days.”

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The Army Corps of Engineers operates two similar hurricane gates in the northeast. One is in Providence, Rhode Island, the other in New Bedford, Massachusetts.