Gordon, Wagner & Eustace Bill to Fund Long-Term Flooding Solution in Bergen County Advances in both Legislative Houses

Measure Would Appropriate $10 Million to Address Marsellus Street Bridge Issues in Garfield

Legislation sponsored by Senator Bob Gordon and Assembly members Connie Wagner and Tim Eustace (all D-Bergen/Passaic) that would provide a long-term solution to flooding problems that have plagued Bergen County residents advanced in both houses on Monday.

“There is only so much flooding any one community can handle. It’s time to look at the bigger picture and address the problem head-on instead of applying a band-aid approach that will cost more money over time,” said Wagner (D-Bergen). “The issues surrounding this bridge have been studied extensively at the local level and it’s time the state worked collaboratively to help fund the solution.”

The bill (A-576/S257) would appropriate $10 million from the General Fund to the Department of Transportation to fund the state’s contribution towards improvements, including but not limited to, the resolution of flooding issues around the Marsellus Street Bridge, located at the origin of Saddle River Avenue in the city of Garfield.

“Without this funding, too many homeowners will continue to find themselves forced to repeat the same cycle of flooding, evacuation and property destruction,” said Gordon. “Unless the state steps in to help make necessary repairs, these fixes will have to be shouldered entirely by property taxpayers.”

This legislation is intended to provide relief to residents of Bergen County who are subject to flooding and associated issues due to debris that becomes trapped at the Marsellus Street Bridge, which is owned by Bergen County. The county may identify and execute the most appropriate solution to address the flooding issues near the bridge.

“The flooding around this bridge has been a constant source of headaches for area residents for far too long now,” said Eustace. “If we can step in and provide a solution that will eliminate these concerns and save countless clean-up dollars in the long-run, we should.”

Local officials have pointed out that the main reason Garfield, Lodi, Saddle Brook, South Hackensack and Rochelle Park become flooded is due to the concrete impediments and iron girders under the bridge which collect debris during heavy rainfalls and form a natural dam that causes water to overflow and flood the surrounding areas.

The sponsors noted that new technologies available can support the bridge without the concrete walls, which local officials believe would help alleviate roughly 80 percent of the flooding that occurs.

The measure was approved separately today by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee and the Assembly Appropriations Committee and now awaits consideration by the full bodies in each house.