Mayor Angie Devanney and the Berkeley Heights Township Council are happy to announce that the Township has been awarded $400,000 in grant funding from the FY2023 New Jersey Department of Transportation's Local Aid Infrastructure Grant Program for a project to reduce Passaic River flooding in the Riverbend Road and Chaucer Drive portion of Berkeley Heights. This project will help combat flooding from, and increased pollution to, the Passaic River.
The town has been aggressively pursuing funding that will work to improve the conditions in this area. Berkeley Heights applied for $500,000 as part of this grant and also requested $500,000 in the FY2023 Energy & Water Appropriations bill in the Army Corp of Engineers through the Office of Congressman Tom Malinowski. While the ultimate solution is most likely dredging, de-snagging and tunneling of the broader Passaic River area – which requires the cooperation of towns all along the Passaic and likely, federal assistance - a short-term yet effective solution for Berkeley Heights is installing backflow prevention devices along the Passaic River where it lies adjacent to residential neighborhoods on Riverbend Road.
For this short-term relief, the Township engineers have proposed installation of new headwalls along with incorporating flap valves at outfall locations in this area. These improvements, with a target completion date of September 2025, will also make road conditions safer for motorists, emergency vehicles and pedestrians. The funds will be specifically used to install the new head walls at the 10 outfall locations along Riverbend Road and the flap valves or equivalent Tideflex valves in the construction.
“While not the final solution, I see many benefits from this project,” said Mayor Angie Devanney. “The project will help mitigate the constant threats of flooding to our public safety and the environment. Many parts of the town flood during heavy rains, due to increased development, neglected infrastructure over decades, tree removal, impervious surfaces and many other factors causing improper drainage. It will ensure Berkeley Heights water infrastructure system can reduce pollution and runoff in this part of town and enhance the livability of the area.”
As the project progresses, Berkeley Heights will continue to provide updates, prioritize its residents' welfare and maintain transparency about the ongoing efforts to protect the health and safety of the public.