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£9bn US flood barrier ruled a wash out


Plans for a £9bn flood barrier in Boston, USA, have been slammed by the University of Massachusetts.

The university’s report said the cost of the works would outweigh the benefits and that the barrier itself would take 30 years to install.

Instead the report concluded that the city would be better investing in much cheaper shore-based resilience measures.

“Harbor barrier systems have been a helpful tool for certain other coastal cities, but in this case, Boston would be making a bet on a massive infrastructure project with limited benefits compared to the alternative,” academic director of Sustainable Solution Lab Paul Kirshen said.

“The more impactful strategy the city can pursue is to stay focused on neighbourhood, shore-based resilience, moving quickly and working closely with communities.

“Local protections can also provide additional public realm advantages that maximize investment and benefit everyone plus provide us the flexibility to adjust to the uncertainties of climate change.”

The report also suggested that the proposed barrier would also face “major technical challenges” which could increase its time scale and price.

In particular the report raised issue with the proposed mechanism suggested for opening and closing the flood defence system.

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