Connecticut’s largest city aims to reduce its risk from climate change and flooding.
WSP, Arcadis, Waggonner & Ball, and Yale Urban Design Workshop announced their selection to design resilience measures to minimize flood risk and account for sea level rise affecting Bridgeport's South End businesses and residents. The project, one of 13 awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), is part of the $1B National Disaster Resilience Competition (NDRC), an initiative to help communities recover from disasters and safeguard against future hazards.
The Connecticut Department of Housing hired this multidisciplinary team to design climate change and flood resilience plans to reduce risk from future impacts resulting from rising sea levels.
Recent storms have left streets flooded for days, forcing residents to leave Bridgeport for necessities such as food and clothing. Storm impacts also have weakened the community's infrastructure while hindering economic growth.
The coalition will plan and design resilience strategies to reconnect communities to the water, create new uses for the city's waterfront, foster new development and revitalize a community sitting five minutes from downtown Bridgeport. WSP will be responsible for project management, public outreach, civil and geotechnical engineering and environmental assessments. Arcadis will undertake numerical modeling and design of coastal flood risk reduction structures and interior drainage solutions, environmental assessments, and support stakeholder and community engagement. Waggonner & Ball, in collaboration with Yale Urban Design Workshop, will lead architecture, urban design and coordinate landscape architecture, as well as support public engagement.
Design features will include a combination of floodwalls, raised corridors, embankments, interior drainage improvements and green infrastructure, all integrated with Bridgeport's South End. The project includes the continuation of a Rebuild by Design pilot project, a $6.5M stormwater system designed by Arcadis, Waggonner & Ball and Yale Urban Design Workshop, with Reed Hilderbrand. The pilot includes a 2.5-acre stormwater park integrated into the urban fabric to store and manage rainfall runoff while relieving combined sewer system overflows. The park also will enhance recreation opportunities in the neighborhood.
“Arcadis has provided resilience strategies to Bridgeport since 2014, and through our continuing work with the community, the company has first-hand knowledge of the challenges and opportunities the city faces,” said John McCarthy, president of water for Arcadis. “Together, our team can help outline flood risk reduction methods that will improve the viability of Bridgeport's downtown while creating a new amenity for its residents to enjoy.”
After Superstorm Sandy, Bridgeport was awarded $10M for planning, design and construction via the Henk Ovink-led Rebuild By Design Competition, a multi-stage planning and design competition promoting resilience in the areas impacted. Subsequently, Bridgeport also received $41M in federal funds following an application to HUD's NDRC.
“We're pleased to be part of this effort to increase the resiliency and sustainability of Bridgeport's South End,” said Anthony Moretti, WSP's area manager of Connecticut.
“Having worked in Bridgeport since the competition phase of Rebuild By Design, we are convinced of the substance and character of the city and its people. We are also confident of its potential, as well as its importance to Connecticut,” said David Waggonner, principal of Waggonner & Ball.
The design phase of the project will run through this year with construction activities scheduled to begin in 2019.