The township council of both Brick and Toms River this week voted unanimously to jointly obtain state funding that will be used to raise streets in the oft-flooded Normandy Beach section – a neighborhood which is divided between the two towns.
In Brick, Normandy Beach residents – before in-person meetings ceased due to the coronavirus pandemic – appeared at several council meetings to press the issue of flooding in their neighborhood. Some residents told stories of missing school and work, or even deliveries due to the flooding at high tide during storms or full moons. Most of the residents favored hard infrastructure improvements as a solution. Brick also took the step of hiring an engineering firm, ACT Engineers, which was responsible for creating a wide-ranging plan to combat flooding in Ocean City, to take a detailed look at the Normandy Beach scenario.
“They’re still doing the study, and we’re going to be setting up the neighborhood meetings, but one of the recommendations is going to be road elevations,” said Brick Mayor John Ducey. “So the time to act is now in getting the funding from the state so it won’t be on the backs of Brick’s and Toms River’s taxpayers.”
The project will be funded through a grant from the New Jersey Department of Transportation for which both towns have joint applied. Brick Mayor John Ducey said he was confident the funding will, indeed, be awarded.
Toms River has seen major success in reducing flooding in some neighborhoods, including Ortley Beach and Silverton, through road elevations. Township officials believe raising the road will work in Normandy Beach as well. While Brick is experimenting with newly-designed flapper valves at outfall pipes, Toms River has largely dismissed those devices as an option.
“This will prevent that flooding,” said Toms River Mayor Maurice “Mo” Hill. “The flapper valves, as we know, don’t work, particularly when the tide is high.”
“Street elevations have been successful in the past,” Hill continued. “It doesn’t eliminate the flooding totally, but it does do a pretty good job.”
Ducey said engineers with ACT have already determined that elevating roads in the neighborhood would help reduce flooding, and several can be raised even before the firm authors a lengthy, final report on the issue.
“Getting the funding now in place makes sense, so we don’t have to miss a whole cycle of funding,” said Ducey.
The streets included in the plan are:
- Broad Avenye (Toms River/Brick)
- 5th Avenue (Toms River)
- 7th Avenue (Brick)