Our Old Bridge Community Meeting was held on March 17th, 2022 at the Old Bridge YMCA to have a conversation with community members about their experiences with flooding and what improvements are needed in Old Bridge to reduce flood risk in the future.
What did we hear?
Here’s a summary of what we heard, by topic. If you feel that we’ve missed anything or got something wrong, we encourage you to let us know by emailing ResilientRRBC@dep.nj.gov or calling 732-661-3808.
WHAT AREAS AND PLACES AT RISK FROM FLOODING ARE YOU MOST CONCERNED ABOUT?
Highways surrounding the area are the primary method of commute for many residents, raising concerns for how flooding affects these roads already. Routes 9 and 18 are surrounded by wetlands as well as Garden State Parkway. GSP also divides the coastal region of Laurence Harbor.
Laurence Harbor’s coast is a small residential community next to Route 35, originally temporary bungalows that were made into permanent single-family homes.
WHAT ADDITIONAL ISSUES BEYOND FLOODING SHOULD WE SEEK TO ADDRESS?
There is interest in redeveloping the coast in Laurence Harbor—following the model of the South Amboy waterfront just up the cost. There are also concerns from those who live there about relocation of this long-standing and tightly knit community.
There is also ongoing development along Route 9 including houses and warehouses. There is interest in making sure the developing in these area follows guidelines for stormwater management. Golf courses are in this area too so the township and project team should work together to negotiate road improvements to develop the project.
WHAT is the project doing in old bridge to benefit the COMMUNITY?
The consultant team shared a toolkit of potential risk reduction strategies and identified key strategies that are applicable to the coastal area.
One option discussed was the used of a surge barrier at the Cheesequake Creek inlet that would close when a storm comes. There was some concern about impacts on navigation in this area. Another idea was to improve tidal movement under Garden State Parkway to improve the area’s wetlands.
Beach replenishment was recently completed in Laurence Beach and there is interest in building a boardwalk along the shoreline. Improvements to the coast’s infrastructure and beach can bring in amenities and potentially activate the area.
Another strategy discussed was setbacks from wetlands and the need to ensure awareness of land use policies to ensure they are followed.
Later this Spring, there will be regional virtual community meeting to share a preferred scenario and preview a draft action plan. Stay tuned for additional outreach events as well!