HOBOKEN, NJ - As of Tuesday, 15 blocks of new water mains have been installed in Hoboken, as part of an infrastructure project to replace the city’s oldest water mains over the past year. While paving on the blocks impacted is scheduled to take place over the next few weeks, the announced completion of this initial phase comes after a long and heated battle between the City of Hoboken and SUEZ Water North Jersey over responsibility for the maintenance.

"The installation of nearly 7,000 linear feet of new water mains is a major step forward for Hoboken's underground infrastructure, after decades of neglect,” said Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla. “Not only did we replace some of Hoboken's most vulnerable water mains over the past year, we also included Vision Zero and flood infrastructure improvements as a part of the project. These are major quality of life upgrades for our residents that we are committed to building on in the months and years to come."

After a steady drip of catastrophic failures over the past few years that brought Hoboken and SUEZ to the brink of legal action, a new arrangement was hammered out in 2019 that required a reinvestment crumbling, centuries-old infrastructure—to the tune of $33 million in water main upgrades through 2034, with an average of $2.2 million invested every year.

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“SUEZ is proud to be a part of this major milestone, as it signifies progress in the journey set forth to modernize the system,” said Xavier Castro, President of Environmental Services for SUEZ North America. “We are in this together, and will continue to collaborate and transform Hoboken into one of the most environmentally advanced cities for generations to come.”

The initial phase of these upgrades began in September 2019, but was paused from March 2020 through May 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic. Construction resumed on June 15, 2020 and wrapped up this week.

Work included the installation of 272 new water service lines (2,200 linear feet), along with 104 gate valves to help isolate vulnerable water mains when repairs are needed. 15 new fire hydrants were also installed, replacing 12 old fire hydrants.

All 15 blocks with new water mains have been repaved or will be repaved in the coming weeks to incorporate Vision Zero roadway improvements—such as including new high-visibility crosswalks, painted curb extensions, "daylighted" corners to improve visibility at intersections, 6,800 linear feet of bike lanes, and 37 ADA-compliant curb ramps.

To assist with the ongoing need for flood mitigation, four green/gray stormwater detention tanks were installed at various points along the project, with the capacity withhold nearly 7,000 gallons of rainwater during storms. One rain garden curb extension was also constructed at Garden Street and 4th Street, which has the capacity to store approximately 1,500 gallons of rainwater, meanwhile serving as a safety measure to shorten the crossing distance for pedestrians.

The City maintains that the project utilized low interest and interest free loans from the New Jersey Infrastructure Bank, with no funding from the 2020 municipal budget. Officials are currently exploring locations for the next phase of water main replacements, which is expected to begin in the spring of 2021.

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