How does it Work? The New Bedford Hurricane Protection Barrier

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WLNE) — There isn’t one person who decides to close the hurricane barrier. The decision to close the gates of the New Bedford Hurricane Protection Barrier, is made by agreement of town, city, municipal and federal agencies.

Needless to say, it is not one made in a few moments time. Operators arrive more than two hours before the closure happens. Barrier engineers then start the process of notification.

Drew Cattano, a barrier engineer with the Army Corps of Engineers explained the procedure, saying, “When we know we’ll operate, we’ll put a strobe light on at Ft. Taber. We’ll turn it on and it will flash a bit faster, so it will allow the larger vessels to know and give then 20-30 minutes notice.”

They also send out a closing notification to mariners at sea over radio.

Immediately before operation, the compressors shoot air down airlines to clear debris off the track that the doors close on.

Cattano breaks it all down: “It’s powered by 25 HP electric motors that are connected to a 1800 reduction Philadelphia gear that’s above a sprocket. So, the sprocket rotates onto a drive rack. There are 100 pins on each drive rack that the sprocket rotates on and pulls the gates into the channel.”

The speed of the gates closing is variable — slow at the start, then quicker, then slow again before closed. The whole process takes 15 minutes for the gates to meet in the center of the 150-foot channel.

Categories: News, Scientifically Speaking