On May 29th, 2019, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the formation of the Lake Ontario Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative, or REDI commission. The goal of this multi-agency task force is to develop a plan to harden infrastructure along Lake Ontario’s waterfront after significant flooding events in 2017 and 2019.
REDI was allocated 330 million dollars to undertake widespread infrastructure improvements along the southern and eastern shores of Lake Ontario, spanning 8 different counties from Niagara to Orleans all the way up to St. Lawrence County. Projects were solicited, and the REDI commission vetted over 200 potential projects, eventually cut down to 127 viable projects to pursue. Projects executed under the REDI commission are funded through a 95% grant, 5% match system, making the projects extremely affordable.
Wendel was contracted for our competencies in site civil, structural hydrology and hydraulics, water, wastewater and stormwater and landscape architecture to perform services on 11 of the projects through our existing municipal partnerships with several towns and villages in the area under REDI’s purview. These municipalities include; the Village of Wilson, Town of Somerset, Town of Newfane, Town of Carlton, and Camp Kenan YMCA along with Niagara and Orleans Counties.
Wendel is working alongside a number of government agencies such as the Department of State, OGS, DEC, the Army Corps. Of Engineers, and DASNY on the permitting aspects of these efforts. The services provided are focused on resiliency and protecting beaches from erosion and storm damages by implementing measures such as berms, road reconstruction, and pier modifications to allocate for increased amounts of stormwater during periods of high precipitation.
An aggressive timeline is forecasted for progress on the REDI commission projects, with 10% engineering reports due in February of 2020. The design phase is then scheduled to last through summer and early fall of 2020, with bidding in late 2020 and the commencement of work in early 2021. This schedule, along with the amount of funding committed to the REDI projects, reflects the urgency of bringing up the resiliency of the entire Lake Ontario region.