Ocean County will hire an independent engineer to review whether the Garden State Parkway interchange 91 project contributed to the flooding of the Greenbriar I adult community during an Aug. 13 storm.
More than 100 Greenbriar residents were forced out of their homes after eight inches of rain fell in a short amount of time. But it was the first major storm since Parkway project was completed, and since there had never been flooding in the community before, some residents placed blame on the construction project.
Mayor John Ducey said this week that Ocean County, which designed and oversaw the project in cooperation with the state, has agreed to hire an outside engineering firm to look into the matter. The township council also passed a resolution last month asking the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, which has jurisdiction over the Parkway, to conduct an engineering study. Ducey said the township did not hear back from the state regarding that request.
“They’re going to be looking at the Parkway construction, drainage in the area and if it had anything to do with the flooding,” said Ducey.
Meanwhile, the mayor said, Gov. Phil Murphy recently sent a letter to President Donald Trump requesting disaster aid for residents of Brick, as well as several North Jersey towns which were affected by flooding in the two days prior. The scope of the request includes different portions of the state because it was determined that the same storm system produced both rain events. Ducey said the focus of the federal aid, if it is approved, will be on helping residents rather than the municipal government itself.
“I don’t think we’re going to reach the need for public aid because we only have small items, but residents are the most important part anyway when it comes to the federal government,” Ducey said.
As the township and county were focusing on studies, Turnpike Authority officials said they were busy cleaning out drainage basins following the storm. Over the past month, crews have been in Brick on multiple days performing maintenance work, said Thomas Feeney, the NJTA’s spokesman.
“The flooding caused erosion and an accumulation of silt and debris,” he told Shorebeat. “Our maintenance crews and our on-call maintenance contractor have been cleaning up the silt and debris and repairing the erosion. They’ve been on site several days over the past few weeks.”
Ducey said the township’s engineers were monitoring the work the Turnpike Authority crews were conducting.
“Our engineers were out there taking pictures of everything they were doing out there,” he said.