Heavy Rains Take Princeton by Storm, Several Roadways Closed by Flooding
Heavy rains soaked the area early last Thursday causing a midday mess that forced the closure of several main arteries in Princeton Township, including Rosedale Road, Route 27, and Harrison Street.
The flooding, caused by intense rainfall over a three-hour period, was the worst the Township had seen in several years.
"The magnitude of the flood waters was close to that of [1999's] Hurricane Floyd," said Township Engineer Robert Kiser.
He said the flooding was exacerbated by a rapid snow melt from early December's blizzard. Stony Brook flooded and caused the closing of the Quaker Road, near Route 206, and Rosedale Road, near Johnson Park School. The West Windsor side of Harrison Street was closed due to canal flooding, and Prospect Avenue was temporarily closed between Riverside Drive and Castle Howard Court.
However, possibly the most dramatic case of flooding occurred at the Harry's Brook Bridge construction site, near the corner of Route 27, or Princeton-Kingston Road, and Shady Brook Lane. Flood waters in that location rose quickly creating a marsh in the backyards of residents around Tyson Lane and Littlebrook and Random Roads.
Mr. Kiser said the flood conditions over Harry's Brook Bridge was not necessarily related to New Jersey Department of Transportation construction currently underway.
Captain Peter Savalli of the Princeton Township Police Department said Harry's Brook Bridge was closed for three hours at the height of the floods. One car stalled in the three-foot floodwaters before the road was closed to all traffic. The driver of the car was removed without injury.
The number of road closings related to flooding created difficult driving situations throughout Princeton, Captain Savalli said. "Every place you looked, there was a flooded road."
But the waters receded almost as quickly as they rose, he added. Flood warnings were instated at 6 a.m. Thursday morning. By 8 a.m., rain fell heavily across the region overwhelming the capacity of storm drains to function. However, by the early afternoon, many throughways were re-opened.
"Part of the problem, in addition to the heavy rains, were the clogged storm drains," he said, citing leaves and other debris that can clog storm drains.
Captain Savalli said the department set up detours as they waited for waters to recede. There were also patrol cars stationed at the closings deterring motorists from driving on otherwise impassable roads, he said.
going to be concerned about cars going around the barricades and getting
stranded," he said. "We had flooding in areas where
water goes over pretty easily, but some of the other roads
that closed almost never flood."