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Liquid cement spraying under city scrutiny

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A cliff face along the Hudson waterfront. A stop-work order was issued at the end of July to cease the spraying of liquid cement on the rock escarpment. A public meeting will be held about the issue Sept. 26.
September 19, 2017 - 11:30 pm

HUDSON — The city will host a public meeting next week regarding the slope stabilization project on a cliff face along the Hudson waterfront.

A stop-work order was issued at the end of July to cease the spraying of shotcrete, or liquid cement, on the rock escarpment, which would ensure rocks would not fall onto trains or train tracks. The meeting is expected to take place at City Hall on Sept. 26 at 5:30 p.m.

The city and Scenic Hudson, a regional nonprofit environmental organization, expressed concerns to the state Department of Transportation about how the shotcrete would change the appearance of the waterfront.

“When work on the escarpment first started, there were many in the community who voiced concerns about the appearance of shotcrete, the stark difference between the appearance of the proposed shotcrete surface and that of the natural cliff face, and the impact the proposed change would have on the waterfront and the adjacent historic district,” Mayor Tiffany Martin Hamilton said. “Given the high level of interest and the magnitude of the project’s impact, the public should have the opportunity to preview options and openly discuss concerns and suggestions.”

Department of Transportation spokesman Joseph Morrissey said a DOT representative would be in attendance at the Sept. 26 meeting.

Problems associated with rocks on the tracks range from train delays, to creating the potential for severe incidents such as train derailments, which in turn, create the potential for injuries and fatalities, and risks to the environment, Morrissey said.

“Other measures that would help stabilize the slope include rock scaling and rock bolts,” he said. “Metal netting would not stabilize the slope, but could lessen the likelihood of rocks falling onto the track.

“Rock slide detection fences could provide advanced warning to trains and maintainers if rocks are on the tracks, causing trains to operate at slower speeds until the slide is cleared, but would not stabilize the slope.”

Jeffrey Anzevino, director of Land Use Advocacy for Scenic Hudson, said he’s glad a public meeting is going to be held.

“We suggested to the DOT that it’s important to present the public with an array of solutions and get their feedback on them,” Anzevino said. “It’s important that government agencies don’t make decisions without consulting the public about the different solutions that are available to address those needs.”

Anzevino hopes the government agencies will take the public’s feedback into consideration.

“I hope they’re able to come back with a solution that doesn’t just address a narrow need, but looks at all the needs to protect the travelling public and the resources,” he said. “I hope the public will come out and give their opinion.”

The informational meeting will be held Sept. 26 at 5:30 p.m. in the Common Council Chambers at City Hall, 520 Warren St.

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