New Bedford Hurricane Barrier, Massachusetts

A hurricane barrier extends across the mouth of the harbor at New Bedford, Massachusetts, the location of New England's largest fishing fleet. The barrier consists of 3.5 miles of dikes and gates, creating a wall roughly 20-feet tall, meant to protect the city and its harbor from the waves and flooding that would accompany a hurricane. A 150-foot wide opening allows ships to move in and out of the harbor under normal conditions. In the event of a major storm, the opening can be sealed by closing two 59-foot tall steel gates, which weigh 440 tons each. The gates are under the control of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The barrier is continued on shore around the coast as a rock-covered mound, broken by three steel doors, normally open to allow cars to pass through. Buildings outside the barrier, although not protected, do enjoy an unobstructed view of the ocean. Construction of the barrier began in 1962, and was completed in 1966, at a cost of $18.6 million. In 2015, a 3,400-foot pathway was built atop the barrier, for the use of the general public.