Rahway River Flood Control Council Reports Progress

RAHWAY — Progress continued at the Mayor’s Council on Rahway River Watershed Flood Control meeting Thursday night in Rahway.

Rahway Mayor Rick Proctor hosted the regional meeting and said, “The continued regional engagement of the mayors in this effort to identify and implement flood control efforts on a regional basis will yield dividends.”

The DEP-US Army Corps study of the various Rahway River flood control alternatives remains in progress and on track, according to the council. The Mayors Council provided numerous storage and control structure projects to the study team and the results of that review are expected in next few months. Key priorities remain: Better utilization of the Orange Reservoir for flood storage as well as other South Mountain ponds; changes to channels and control structures at Lenape Park; improvements to Nomehegan and Echo Lake Park and improvements to county and state bridges.

On Thursday night the Mayors Council decided:

  • To urge the Union County Freeholder Board to implement provisions of state legislation A-4267 that will permit county open space funds to be used for acquisition of flood prone properties. Both Cranford and Rahway have numerous properties that could be eligible.
  • Union Mayor Joseph Florio urged that the East Branch of the Rahway River be looked at for storage areas and be incorporated into the US Army Corps study. The Mayors Council agreed.
  • Springfield Deputy Mayor Jerry Fernandez proposed and the Council agreed to review state legislation that would make it easier for town engineers to implement river maintenance projects.
  • A meeting of the engineers from the Rahway River communities will be scheduled in next month to review a plan for better river maintenance with the county; the proposed state legislation; and the Army Corps-DEP assessment of alternatives
  • The Mayors Council agreed to a master plan for the bridges along the Rahway River to ensure current and replacement bridges take into consideration impacts on flooding. As part of the DEP-Army Corps scope of services study it was agreed that the Morris Avenue bridge; Milltown Road bridge; Rt 22 bridge and Hazelwood Avenue bridge be included.
  • On Feb.15 at the Cranford Community Center Millburn Mayor Sandra Haimoff and Cranford Mayor David Robinson will host a meeting of Rahway River communities to discuss best practices for stormwater management and development of a model ordinance that goes beyond state requirements.

The meeting concluded with an agreement that each community provide more details on the damage that Irene caused so that state and federal legislators will better understand the need to implement or fund as many of the Mayors Council requests as possible.

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