CRANFORD, NJ –Representatives of the Mayors Council Rahway River Watershed Flood Control visited Washington D.C. Feb. 15 to urge the Congress to complete the Orange Reservoir Dam Integrity Study in early 2017. In addition, a request to have President Trump’s first budget include funds to begin the engineering and pre-construction work on the Rahway River Flood Mitigation plan. 

Those in attendance included; Cranford Mayor Tom Hannen; Cranford Township Commissioner Mary O’Connor; Union County Freeholder Bette Jane Kowalski; Springfield Deputy Mayor Maria Vassallo; Former Springfield Mayor Ziad Shehady; and Millburn Township Committee woman Diane Iglow.  

Bolstered by the federal US Army Corps of Engineers draft environmental impact statement that read there are no impacts that can’t be mitigated with reasonable actions. The Mayors asked that the Chief Engineers final report be completed and that plans for construction begin in 2017. 

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The Mayors met with Congressman Leonard Lance; Congressman Donald Payne; Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen; Senator Corey Booker staff; Senator Robert Menendez and senior staff of the US Army Corps of Engineers.   

Alternative 4a includes modification to the Orange Reservoir, adding two 36-inch outfall pipes permitting the reservoir to be drained two days before a major storm to reduce significantly the water elevation downstream during the major storm event.  Prior to that work the dam has to be up to US Army Corps standards to ensure the City of Orange the dam is secure and also to ensure protection for downstream communities. 

Alternative 4a will also include downstream channel improvements through Cranford with one and one-half mile of channel deepening with most of the channel work done in the river not on land.   Also there is expected to be lifting or acquisition of numerous properties in the City of Rahway.  The plan had the strongest benefit cost ratio as part of the federal process meaning the project benefits (less flood damages) exceeded project costs.   

The Mayors Council includes 2017 Mayors of the affected communities: Cranford Mayor Thomas Hannen; Union Mayor Suzette Cavadas; Rahway Mayor Sam Steinman; Kenilworth Mayor Anthony Deluca; Springfield Mayor Diane Stampoulos; Millburn Mayor Cheryl Burstein; Maplewood Mayor Victor DeLuca.