Roughly 40 residents attended a public meeting last week to learn about infrastructure upgrades in western Hoboken to curtail flooding caused by poor drainage and sewer deficiencies.
The public meeting on Feb. 19, hosted by the city and North Hudson Sewerage Authority (NHSA), discussed infrastructure changes including elevating roads, replacing sewers and water mains, and replacing sidewalks near Madison Street from Ninth to Eleventh street.
Hoboken’s underground infrastructure has been an issue for several years.
According to Dr. Richard Wolff, executive director of the NHSA the city’s sewer system had been badly maintained before the authority took over in 1996 and previous administrations ignored collapsed sewers and Civil War era wooden sewers for decades.
Over the past 10 years, he said NHSA had invested $65 million in infrastructure upgrades in the mile-square city, including lining the wooden sewers and maintaining the city’s flood pumps.
Despite the pumps, which have helped remove water more quickly, the area of Madison Street between Ninth and Eleventh Street has still had a problem with flooding and ponding which Mayor Ravi Bhalla said has no easy fix.
“I’m not an engineer but as a layperson, I thought there might be a quick fix to the flooding. That maybe the area needed new asphalt to reduce ponding, and if we cleaned the catch basins we would be good to go,” said Mayor Ravi Bhalla who ran as the ‘infrastructure mayor.’
“Fast forward to now… and this is an extraordinarily complex issue involving a lot of different stakeholders.”
A plan to stay dry
In order to help mitigate flooding the project will replace much of the underground infrastructure.
The combined sewer and service line along Madison Street from about Ninth Street to Eleventh Street will be replaced.
According to Kevin Wynn, an engineer who works on behalf of the North Hudson Sewerage Authority, part of the reason this area floods is because the combined sewer and service line along Madison Street has a “significant sag” which prevents water from being transported fast enough.
The replacement will increase the sewer size from 12 inches at its narrowest point to 42 inches, install new inlets, and add new access points.
According to Jaclyn Flor of ENGenuity Engineering, a consultant for the city, the road surface is another cause of ponding because it is pitted and has low-lying areas. To fix this, the project will also raise the road, curb, and sidewalk, as well as replace tree and light fixtures along Ninth Street from Monroe Street through Madison Street and down Madison Street to Eleventh Street.
This will create new high points to help direct runoff down the gutter lines.
She said that any rise of more than 3 inches will require trees to be removed and replaced. A total of 54 trees will be removed and replaced, but the contractors will try to save trees during construction when possible and will replace trees that can’t be saved with trees approved by the Shade Tree Commission.
As part of the project, roads will also be repaved. These will include Madison Street from Eighth Street to Ninth Street, Ninth Street from Jefferson Street to Madison Street, and Eleventh Street from Monroe Street to Madison Street.
The water mains and service lines will be upgraded with cement-lined ductile iron pipe from Monroe to Madison Street along Ninth Street and Eleventh Street and along Madison Street from Ninth Street to Eleventh Street. New system valves, fire hydrants, and customer service main-to-curb lines will also be installed.
According to Wynn, during construction parking will be prohibited in the project area but the roadway will remain open as much as possible.
He said construction would also not block any driveways or access to buildings, including ShopRite, and that construction will take place between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays.
Construction on the project is scheduled to begin this summer with water, sewer, and road raising to be complete by winter.
Construction is scheduled to be completed by spring of 2020.
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