County crews working overtime to minimize effects of storm

FREEHOLD, NJ – Flooding and power outages resulting from Hurricane Irene continued Tuesday, creating hardships for those still without power and those traveling along state and local roads.

While a number of bridges and road closures will remain in effect until further notice, the newly constructed bridge over Doctor’s Creek in Allentown is in good shape and is expected to reopen by Friday of this week. Water that overtopped the bridge washed out parts of the road on the bridge’s approaches, and county contractors will be filling those holes and repaving the area this week.

“What happened in Allentown also happened at several other locations where there are dams and spillways,” Freeholder John P. Curley said. “We are very fortunate that the new bridge in Allentown was not damaged. However, other parts of the county were not that fortunate.”

For example, Ravine Drive at Lake Lefferts in Matawan and Hubbard Avenue at Shadow Lake in Middletown were overtopped by water, which caused large sinkholes and forced the county to close  both roadways until they can be repaired. Workers were out repairing Ravine Drive today.

“Our county engineers are working 12-hour days inspecting the county’s bridges to make sure they are structurally sound,” said Curley, liaison to the Department of Public Works and Engineering. “In addition, many other divisions within the department have been reassigned to assist the engineers with their inspections. They are working hard to minimize the impact this storm has on residents.” 

In addition to the above-mentioned locations, detours have been posted at these seven sites:

  • Jackson Mills Road over the Manasquan River in Freehold Township;
  • Old York Road over Doctor’s Creek in Upper Freehold Township;
  • Southard Avenue over the Manasquan River in Howell;
  • Swimming River Road over the Swimming River in Tinton Falls;
  • Lake Drive over Takanassee Lake in Long Branch;
  • Holland Road over Mahoras Creek in Middletown Township, and
  • Fort Plains Road over the north branch of the Metedeconk River in Howell.

“Our in-house engineers already met in the field with Dam Safety officials from the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and private contractors who can immediately begin work on the emergency repairs,” said John W. Tobia, director of the county’s Department of Public Works and Engineering. “Work on Ravine Drive began this morning.”

Besides road closures and detours, residents are still affected by power outages. As of Tuesday afternoon, Jersey Central Power & Light Co. has restored service to approximately 440,000 customers with about 230,000 customers still without power in northern and central New Jersey. About 88,000 customers in Monmouth County were still without power this morning.

  • JCP& L crews are making progress, but debris from downed trees and areas of heavy flooding are making restoration efforts challenging. Many of the outages associated with this storm are isolated and will require a significant number of repairs to bring all residents back in service.
  • More than 1,700 FirstEnergy and JCP&L employees are working around the clock to restore service.
  • JCP&L is working to replace 176 poles, 2,300 spans of wire and 331 cross arms. The work is labor intensive and will take several more days to complete.