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December 05, 2023
The frequency and severity of storms and severe weather events are a wake-up call for urban planning. “These events will continue, but we also have an opportunity to make a difference by being more resilient,” said Monika Serrano, Resilience Program Manager, Turner Construction Company. “Resilience is the ability to adapt to changing conditions and maintain or regain functionality and vitality in the face of stress or turbulence.”
During Hurricane Sandy in 2012, seawater entered the basement of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City while it was under construction. Turner immediately began developing a new flood protection system for the Museum that is less than 100 yards from the banks of the Hudson River. Flood protection gates and walls were installed to protect the museum. The floodgates and walls can all be activated quickly and easily. As a result, the museum is very open while protected in case of emergency.
Lessons learned from Sandy also informed Turner’s work building the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hospital in Coney Island, New York. In addition to a flood wall the emergency room is located on the second floor and critical mechanical and electrical equipment is on the fifth floor, including the utility transformer. These protections enhance continuity of care and safety of patients and equipment in the event of a major flood.
Turner is in the planning stages of an innovative project in lower Manhattan. Turner is part of a team that is designing and building flood and seepage barriers that aims to strengthen the existing landscape, including parks and buildings in Battery Park City. “Strengthening the resilience of Battery Park City and the surrounding areas with a world-class solution that addresses storm surge, rising sea levels, and the threat of severe weather will have an in-depth positive impact on this vibrant community and much of Lower Manhattan,” said Charlie Whitney, Vice President and General Manager, Turner Construction Company.
In New Jersey, E.E. Cruz, a subsidiary of Turner and Flatiron Construction, has begun work on a project to increase resiliency and protect Hoboken, Weehawken, and Jersey City from floods. The project will address storm surge, rising sea levels, and other effects of severe weather.
In Oklahoma, the Oklahoma University Medical Center is the second building in the United States to be built according to the RELi standard, a rating system that takes a holistic approach to resilient design. Backup generators enable the Medical Center to function independently for up to four days in the event of an infrastructure failure. In addition, the entire structure is protected from the impact of tornadoes.
In addition to incorporating resilience in building programs, Turner implements measures to mitigate the effect of extreme weather on employees and trade workers during construction. Turner seeks to create and sustain the right environment where people are treated with dignity and respect. Turner project teams offer cooling stations to protect against severe heat and warming stations for severe cold. In addition, Turner utilizes a hotline service that alerts employees and checks in on them when a natural disaster or severe weather event occurs.