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Hightstown adopts resolution urging flooding solutions

Hightstown Borough has joined a long list of towns, including Princeton and West Windsor, in asking the State of New Jersey to find regional solutions to flooding that has plagued towns in the Millstone River Basin.

The Hightstown Borough Council adopted a resolution at its Feb. 22 meeting, on the heels of identical resolutions adopted by Princeton and West Windsor Township, to push state officials to work on finding such solutions.

The Millstone River Basin is a 238-square-mile area within Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Somerset and Hunterdon counties, “making this flooding a multi-county regional problem that cannot be alleviated by independent action of any one municipality,” the resolution said.

The resolution said there has been an increase in storm severity within the region, starting with Tropical Storm Irene in 2011, followed by Superstorm Sandy in 2012, Tropical Storm Isaias in 2020 and Tropical Storm Ida in 2021.

The flooding that resulted from those storms produced economic damage and devastating hardships for residents directly impacted by the flooding, closing down transportation, schools and businesses in the region, the resolution said.

Hightstown suffered severe flooding during Tropical Storm Irene in 2011, wiping out the Hightstown Borough Hall and the Hightstown Borough Police Department headquarters, as well as damaging many other buildings in the center of town.

The Hightstown Borough Council’s resolution has called on the State of New Jersey to undertake one or more regional projects to address and mitigate flooding in the Millstone River Basin that affects Hightstown and neighboring communities.

The resolution stated that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers each studied limited areas within the Millstone River Basin and identified areas where regional mitigation projects would be effective.

These mitigation projects include floodwalls, channel modifications, and raising roads and bridges. They would all require significant financial outlays, environmental permitting and a coordinated regional effort, the resolution said.

Copies of the resolution – with a request that the governing bodies also adopt the resolution – have been sent to neighboring towns that include Cranbury, East Windsor, Franklin, South Brunswick, Montgomery and Plainsboro townships, and Manville, Millstone and Rocky Hill boroughs.

The resolution also has been sent to Gov. Phil Murphy, the County Executive and County Commissioners in the five counties, and state lawmakers in both houses of the State Legislature.

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