BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Several major infrastructure projects are underway to improve roads and drainage in the township.
The Township’s infrastructure is aging and in need of repair. The Township needs to look for out-of-the-box ideas, in addition to grants and local aid sources, to help fund major road projects, drainage studies, sidewalk construction and other much-needed projects to address our aging infrastructure.
At the Township Council’s August 20 meeting, Council members unanimously adopted capital ordinances, which will allow the Township to commence several important projects, including:
- Repaving Cornell Avenue and Saw Mill Drive, to utilize a grant the Township received
- Initiating a micro-paving program to help preserve the life of roads that have been paved in the last 5 years
- Implementing drainage improvements at Dell Lane and Riverbend Road
- Road resurfacing and new curbing at Briarwood East & West, Fay Place and Ridgewood Place
- Drainage improvements on Cedar Green Lane, Pine Grove Road, Plainfield Avenue, and Scott Avenue.
- Sidewalks, curbs, path and crosswalk improvements from Plainfield Avenue from Park Avenue, Roosevelt Avenue Plainfield to Park and Columbia Avenue
Drainage Study Has Begun
The township has received initial aerial survey information for the area around Orchard Lane, Emerson Lane, Mercier Place and Old Farm Road, which is a cause of many of the water issues experienced by residents in that area and down the hill, across Mountain Ave, on Kings Court, Cornell Avenue, Hillcrest Avenue, Arden Court and surrounding areas. The study will lay the foundation for an improved paving and drainage system in the area; it will take about six months to complete.
The funding for the study was included in this year’s capital budget. The township is seeking funds for the future design and construction of a new drainage system in this part of town through the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Bank (NJEIB). This program, under the auspices of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), allows municipalities to borrow 50% of project funds with 0% interest. Additionally, while the project is being constructed, the state charges 0% interest. This will allow the Township to do more with our tax dollars and make the much-needed improvements to our crumbling roads, pipes and sewers.
Meanwhile, designs have begun for the small drainage pocket projects that we are completing as part of a 2019 Union County Infrastructure and Municipal Aid Grant. These projects will be located in the areas of Pine Grove, Cedar Green, and Scott Avenue.
Road Repaving to Begin in Woodruff Neighborhood
The township has begun designs for the road paving project soon-to-begin on Briarwood Drive East and West, Ridgewood Place, and Fay Place. The plan is to award this job at a Council meeting in September, with the project to begin soon afterwards. Funding for this project is coming, in part, from a $460,000 grant award from the Department of Transportation's (NJDOT) Municipal Aid Program, applied for in 2018 and awarded this year.
Sawmill & Cornell Paving
This repaving job, to be paid for partially with a 2017 NJDOT local aid grant, has been awarded; contracts are ready to be signed. A preconstruction meeting will be held after Labor Day. Affected residents will be notified by the contractor about start dates and other details as the project nears.
The township is also applying to NJEIB for help with a number of sewer projects, including improving the sewer infrastructure as needed in the above-mentioned parts of town as the drainage is being addressed. In addition, the township is looking to NJEIB for help funding the following projects:
- Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) raw influent pump and valve replacements and intermediate pump check valve replacements.
- Replacement of some existing methane gas handling equipment
- WWTP exterior electrical upgrades
- Security fencing and gates for the WWTP, remote overflow basin and sewer pump stations (7)
- SCADA II and SCADA III projects for remote viewing/control of both WWTP equipment, etc. and remote sewer pump stations.
- Alternative energy project (anaerobic digestion gas to power for reduction of energy usage).
- Twin Falls Sewer Pump Station – replacement of failing controls.
- Sewer main repairs and manhole rehabilitations.
New Turf at Snyder Field
Take a drive by Snyder Park to see the progress of the Union County turf replacement project. Recreation Director Tom Barton has been working with Union County to get this done; currently turfed multi-purpose fields are being upgraded with funds approved by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders. There are also plans to turf a baseball field in the facility that is currently natural grass. The returfing of the multi-use field is expected to be completed by the end of September and turfing of the baseball field by early 2020.