FAIRFIELD, NJ — In response to requests to remedy the flooding problems on Route 46 near Willowbrook during major storms, Fairfield Mayor James Gasparini said at Monday’s council meeting that the township will “keep pushing.”
He explained that after Hurricane Irene in 2011, Route 46 flooded, halting traffic near Willowbrook in both directions. As part of Gasparini’s promise to Fairfield businesses and residents, this problem would be addressed and remediated.
In 2011, the mayor and Township Administrator Joseph Catenaro spoke to the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) on the issue. According to Gasparini, they were told that major work was going to be done on the highway in that area, and at that time, NJDOT said it would address this problem.
That time has come, but the $23-million plan does not address the flooding situation.
NJDOT intends to create a third lane leading into Willowbrook, but has no plans to raise the highway that would stop the major flooding in the area. This is not only a problem for Fairfield, but a serious problem for Wayne and the surrounding area as well.
Gasparini and Catenaro spoke to NJDOT to refresh the department’s memory on its promise and were told that NJDOT would not raise the highway. According to Gasparini, NJDOT stated that raising it would mean that tractor-trailers would not be able to fit under the bridge, and that adding a minimal amount of fill would increase flooding downstream.
Catenaro said that this is not true because the location of the depression is not near enough to the bridge to affect tractor-trailers and that adding that small amount of fill would not affect flooding.
Catenaro said that Fairfield has offered NJDOT good suggestions on how to fix the problem, but that they “have not addressed any of our concerns.”
Gasparini said that he will not sign the paperwork in favor of this $23-million project. He and Catenaro added that it does not make sense to spend all this money and not address the flooding problem.
To read more about this meeting, click HERE.