Senator Bob Gordon and Assemblyman Tim Eustace (both D-Bergen/Passaic) on Wednesday praised Bergen County officials for following through on a promise to provide funding for a long-term fix to the repeated flooding caused by the Marcellus Street Bridge in Garfield.
The 38th district lawmakers had sponsored legislation (A-576) last legislative session that would have provided funding for the project, however, the measure was vetoed by Governor Christie. Tonight, Gordon and Eustace will attend the Bergen County Freeholder’s meeting where an ordinance will be introduced authorizing the expenditure of an initial $3.5 million from FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP), as well as $388,000 in county funding, to begin implementing approved flood mitigation projects.
Funding from the FEMA grant will be used to support several projects, including replacing the two span bridge at Marcellus Street on the Garfield/Wallington border with a single span bridge, which will eliminate the center concrete piling that currently collects debris and impedes water flow, in turn causing flood waters to quickly breach banks and cause widespread inundation.
“I’m grateful that the Bergen County Freeholder Board understands how crucial this project is to the quality of life for countless Bergen County residents,” said Gordon. “They have been willing partners in this every step of the way, working with us and residents to make sure every concern was heard. At the end of the day, they stood up when it mattered most for residents. I’d also like to thank a number of our local mayors who were particularly outspoken in support of our legislation to find a long term flooding solution - Mayor Marc Schrieks of Lodi, Mayor Walter Wargacki of Wallington and Mayor Karen Chamberlain of Saddle Brook.”
“This is wonderful news for everyone that has dealt with the nightmare of flooding caused by the Marcellus Street Bridge. We worked tirelessly to try and find a solution last legislative session, only to have the Governor veto the measure,” said Eustace. “We vowed at that time that we would not give up on working together to find a common solution and we continued forging ahead in concert with county officials, holding ongoing flood meetings with affected towns.”
Residents in Fair Lawn, Garfield, Lodi, Saddle Brook, South Hackensack, Rochelle Park, and Wallington have repeatedly been besieged with flooding due to the concrete impediments and iron girders under the bridge which collect debris during heavy rainfalls and form a natural dam that causes water to overflow and flood the surrounding areas. The lawmakers noted that new technologies available can support the bridge without the concrete walls, which local officials believe would help alleviate roughly 80 percent of the flooding that occurs.