Mayors Council to head back to D.C.

UNION COUNTY, NJ — The Mayors Council on Rahway River Watershed Flood Control will head to Washington, D.C., on Feb. 15 to urge the Congress to appropriate funds to begin the engineering and pre-construction work on the Rahway River Flood Mitigation plan in President Donald Trump’s first budget, according to a release from the Mayors Council.

Bolstered by the federal U.S. Army Corps of Engineers draft environmental impact statement that said there are no impacts that can’t be mitigated with reasonable actions, the mayors will be asking that the chief engineer’s final report be completed and that plans for construction begin. The mayors expect to meet with U.S. Rep. Leonard Lance, U.S. Rep. Donald Payne, U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez and senior staff of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“Over $100 million of damages were faced by residents along the Rahway River during Irene,” Cranford Mayor Tom Hannen said in the release. “The mayors have kept their eye on the ball to ensure progress and we appreciate our federal and state representatives who have been behind us all the way.”

The Mayors Council is pushing to complete the chosen course of action, Alternative 4a, to protect the towns along the Rahway River from flood damage. 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. There will be downstream channel improvements through Cranford with one and one-half miles 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 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 and Maplewood Mayor Victor DeLuca.