Christie Administration Dedicates Bound Brook Flood-Control System
$143 Million Comprehensive Floodwall and Levee System Now Protects Area Devastated by Past Floods
(16/P77) Trenton, NJ – Governor Chris Christie today marked a milestone in the Administration’s efforts to make the state more storm-resilient by dedicating the completion of the Bound Brook phase of the Green Brook Flood Risk Management Project. A $143 million system of levees, floodwalls, floodgates and pumping stations will help protect Bound Brook, long one of the most flood-prone communities in the state, as well as a densely populated portion of north-central New Jersey. Governor Christie was joined by Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bob Martin, Brigadier General William H. Graham, Colonel David Caldwell, Commander of the Army Corps’ New York District, and Bound Brook Mayor Robert Fazen.
“Far too many residents have had their homes and businesses destroyed by floods, and as I’ve been there to hug and console a lot of people who have lost so much, today marks my commitment to keep them safe with stronger and modernized infrastructure, ” Governor Christie said. “My administration is so strongly focused on completing projects like this to protect people, communities and property in all parts of the state from the traumatic and life-changing impacts of severe flooding. This particular project is part of a larger effort to protect not just Bound Brook but a total of 13 municipalities and tens of thousands of families in Middlesex, Somerset, and Union counties.”
Located along the Raritan River and its confluence with the Middle Brook and smaller streams, the borough of Bound Brook has been frequently hit by floods, several of which have been devastating. The new flood-control measures will help protect the community from the kind of destruction it experienced in September 1999, when Tropical Storm Floyd’s floodwaters ripped apart buildings, sparked fires that burned for days, forced extensive evacuations and hundreds of water rescues, and caused at least two deaths in the borough.
“Tropical Storm Floyd was to Bound Brook and many neighboring towns what Superstorm Sandy was to our coastal communities – a natural disaster that shattered lives and destroyed livelihoods,” said DEP Commissioner Bob Martin. “It is gratifying that residents in Bound Brook now have peace of mind that their families, homes, schools and businesses are protected.”
The Bound Brook project, includes construction of 8,500 feet of levees, 1,300 feet of floodwalls, two pump stations, two flood gates for roads and a flood gate for an NJ Transit crossing. In addition, the elevations of the Talmage Avenue and Lincoln Boulevard bridges were raised and an abandoned Conrail bridge was removed.
“The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is very pleased to be announcing the completion of the Bound Brook portion of the Green Brook Flood Risk Management Project,” said Colonel Caldwell. “In collaboration with our partners at the federal, state and local levels, we've taken another step toward reducing flood risk and increasing resiliency for the residents of Bound Brook. This is a key step in the building of one of the largest flood risk reduction projects of its kind in the country.”
The federal government funded 75 percent of the construction costs, with the state and local governments making up the balance. Somerset County is performing ongoing maintenance of the Bound Brook flood-protection system, with the state paying 75 percent of the operating costs and the county funding the balance.
Mayor Fazen said the project is generating new business development and that federal flood insurance premiums for hundreds of property owners have been reduced or eliminated.
“Potential flooding has always inhibited outside investment and with the threat of flooding reduced, development is accelerating,” Mayor Fazen said. “The residents of Bound Brook are ecstatic. We always had the threat of flooding in our minds. But with this project, residents feel a sense of safety.”
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is working in partnership with the DEP, the counties of Middlesex, Somerset and Union, and the Green Brook Flood Control Commission to develop and construct a comprehensive, basin-wide flood control system to protect a 65-square-mile area of low-lying land encompassing all or parts of 13 municipalities. This basin acts like a bowl, collecting floodwaters funneled from the Raritan River and its many tributaries, including Middle Brook, Stony Brook, Green Brook, Bound Brook, Ambrose Brook and Blue Brook.
The basin encompasses all or parts of the following municipalities: Dunellen, Middlesex, Piscataway and South Plainfield in Middlesex County; Bound Brook, Bridgewater, Green Brook, North Plainfield, Warren and Watchung in Somerset County; and Berkeley Heights, Plainfield and Scotch Plains in Union County.
In addition to the work completed in Bound Brook, substantially completed portions of the project include the raising of the Sebrings Mill Bridge in neighboring Middlesex, and elevated work on a portion of a levee, pump station and floodwall. The Army Corps is expected to award contracts for additional flood-mitigation structures in Middlesex by the fall.
At the DEP’s request, the Army Corps is updating its evaluations of flood-control measures for the upper portion of the basin, which includes parts of Union County. A draft project management plan has been provided to DEP for review. Upon completion of this review, the plan will be released to the Green Brook Flood Control Commission and counties for their review and comments.
For more information, including project area maps, visit: http://www.nan.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works/Projects-in-New-Jersey/Green-Brook-Sub-Basin/
For more information on the Administration’s efforts to reduce flooding and storm risks and make the state more resilient, visit: http://www.nj.gov/dep/special/hurricane-sandy/