Ask the Expert, November 2011: Kirk Barrett, Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering at Manhattan College, on Preventing Flooding in Westchester County Parkways During Heavy Rainfall


Q: What, if anything, can be done to prevent Westchester parkways from flooding almost every time we have heavy rains?

A: “Unfortunately, there is no cheap or easy way to fix the flooding problems,” says Kirk Barrett, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at Manhattan College in the Bronx. “The two obvious alternatives are one, build floodwalls between the streams and the roads, or two, elevate road beds above the flood level. But either of these alternatives would cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Furthermore, they could actually worsen flooding in downstream areas. As such, either alternative could face opposition from downstream parties and/or regulatory authorities.”