Tropical Storm Henri causes flooding and debris throughout Hopewell Valley


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Inches of rain from Tropical Storm Henri caused flooding and road closures, and produced debris across municipalities making up Hopewell Valley on Aug. 22.

Throughout Hopewell Township, Hopewell Borough and Pennington, motorists experienced road closures, for example, at Old Mill Road in Hopewell Township and Maple Street in Hopewell Borough.

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In Hopewell Township, in addition to Old Mill Road, closures had also occurred on Federal City Road, Aunt Molly Road, Van Dyke Road, Stony Brook Road, Mine Road and Titus Mill Road. All the roads were closed on Aug. 22 due to the flooding from the storm.

“All roads in the township closed due to storm damage are now open,” said George Snyder, township administrator and director of Public Works.

Snyder added that the Public Works Department removed debris from roadways, drainage ditches, and pipes on Aug. 23 and was set to continue the cleanup on Aug. 24.

“Additionally, the department is repairing roads damaged by the heavy rains,” he said.

Neighboring municipality Hopewell Borough endured 7 inches of rain between 6:30 a.m. and 7: 30 a.m. which caused flooding on roads such as Broad Street and Maple Street. Maple Street currently remains closed and emergency repairs will be made on the roadway.

“Yesterday, Hart Avenue was closed, Maple Street between East Broad Street and Lafayette Street and that one still has pretty substantial damage still. Hart Avenue is mostly cleaned up and is certainly passable,” Borough Administrator Michele Hovan said. “There was flooding on Broad Street. There was not only flooding on Broad Street, but eight vehicles had to be towed because of the flood and one water rescue occurred.”

East and West Broad Street were impacted by flooding and storm Henri. The borough’s focus on Aug. 22 had been largely on West Broad Street.

“But not exclusively, there was flooding on Elm Street and we had Elm Street closed at one point too but only briefly,” Hovan said. “Broad Street was never closed until it was flooded. It was never barricaded closed. You certainly could not pass through it for a period of time. The systems could not handle the volume of the 7 inches of rain and it did a lot of infrastructure damage.”

The storm and the rain in Hopewell Borough lifted chunks of cement, ripped up street furniture, driveways and properties that will need electrical and plumbing work.

“Maple Street was pretty much washed out and needs a complete reconstruction. It was on a list of roads to be done and now it will be done much sooner,” Hovan said. “There is a lot of damage we have not seen yet. There was compromised places in the park and the trails are washed out. Residents have problems mainly on West Broad Street, but also on Hart Avenue and those are the one we know about.”

Hopewell Borough has also been addressing the clearing of debris and ensuring public safety and services.

“The Emergency Services team, Hopewell Township Police and Fire Safety, and obviously our Public Works and Water Department and everyone involved really worked together as a team to address the critical areas,” Hovan said. “Also, in the aftermath and during the storm both Pennington and Hopewell Township reached out offer assistance in any way. We really are really functioning like a true Hopewell Valley.”

In Pennington, motorists experienced two brief road closures on Aug. 22. The first road closure occurring at State Highway Route 31 and West Delaware Avenue, which was closed for more than an hour.

“Yesterday, Officer Novin Thomas and the Pennington Borough Public works did an outstanding job with the situation at hand,” Chief of Police Doug Pinelli said. “The second road closure was at King George Road and East Delaware Avenue just East of Pennington Rocky-Hill Road. This closed East Delaware completely going into Hopewell Township and made King George Road completely impassable to enter east Delaware.”

The closure would be reopened by 2:30 p.m. on Aug. 22.

“A small tree came down blocking the entrance to Rockwell Green and was cleared almost immediately due to public works being in the area assisting with barricades,” he added. “There were no power outages reported.”

Pennington did not have any major road or municipal infrastructure damage.

“Pennington Borough made out remarkably well, all things considered. We suffered no major road or municipal infrastructure damage,” said Rick Smith, superintendent of Public Works. “We had a few temporary road closures due to flooding. There were homes in Pennington Borough that had water enter their basements requiring assistance from Pennington Fire Company.”

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