Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today toured LaGuardia Airport in Queens to view progress on construction of the new East End Substation, a key infrastructure project that will help the airport maintain electrical power during extreme weather and flooding. The Governor visited the site with U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Executive Director Patrick Foye, Port Authority Interim Aviation Director Tom Bosco, and other federal and state officials as part of a tour to view resiliency projects in New York after Superstorm Sandy.
An estimated 334,000 passengers were affected due to flight cancellations and the closure of LaGuardia Airport during Superstorm Sandy, resulting in a loss of $54 million dollars a day in lost economic activity. The new three-story Substation a $106.9 million project will significantly improve the electrical capacity at the airport and will be located more than 150 feet further away from Flushing Bay than the current substation it is replacing. The surge from Flushing Bay inundated the airport with 100 million gallons of water during Sandy.
The flooding of LaGuardia Airport during Superstorm Sandy represented both the storms severity as well as how our existing infrastructure simply was not prepared for the new reality of extreme weather, Governor Cuomo said. Following the storm, the state and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey took immediate action to strengthen the airport against future flooding, and the new East End Substation will help LaGuardia retain power during floods or major storms. This project is just one of many major initiatives the state is taking to not just build back, but build back smarter and stronger so New York can be more resilient in the face of extreme weather.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is committed to ensuring that the regions critical transportation infrastructure is prepared to withstand future super storms, said Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye. Under the Governors leadership, we have made key design changes to the East End Substation that place important electrical equipment well above the revised 100 year flood elevations. This will ensure that this vital economic engine is open and operating as soon as possible in the event of another major storm.
To view photos from Superstorm Sandy, click here.
To view a rendering of the East End Electrical Substation, click here.
The East End Substation project is part of an overall program to rebuild infrastructure damaged by Superstorm Sandy as well as to design and construct new infrastructure to meet the demands of the future. After Sandy, a thorough design evaluation resulted in additional changes to the construction of the East End Substation, including elevating the critical electrical infrastructure to more than 15 feet above sea level. This will ensure that vital equipment is located at elevation levels well above ground level and above the 100-year floodplain.
This $106.9 million investment to replace the outdated Central Electrical Substation will ensure operational continuity in the face of future storms. Already teetering at its operating capacity of 12 megawatts, the existing substation is not built to withstand the threats of future storms or future heat waves and is located in an area of the airport that is vulnerable to flooding.
The East End Substation project will create significant economic benefits for the region. The total economic impact of the project is estimated to include 330 job years and nearly $139 million in economic activity over the life of the project.
The Port Authority is designing and exploring several other long-term mitigation and resiliency projects at LaGuardia Airport including the construction of a floodwall around the West Field Lighting Vault, installation of flood barrier berms around the West End Substation, construction of gravity drains to remove floodwater from the airfield, and the replacement of existing generators with larger, more efficient generators. LaGuardia Airport has also made critical repairs to the Instrument Landing Piers, which supports critical precision guidance to an aircraft landing on a runway.