Woolwich Discusses Its Recovery From Storm Damaged Roads

WOOLWICH TWP. — Sections of Woolwich Township received severe road damage after the community endured a series of storms in early August. During their meeting on Aug. 17, the Township Committee talked over ways the community can come back from substantial rainfall damage over a short period.

Oliphant Mill Road suffered a dam washout. The dam and the roadway was washed away and the lake was drained. At this writing, Oliphant Mill Road is closed to through traffic and will need substantial road improvements.

Woolwich Township Mayor Vernon Marino commented that the dam was privately owned, and any repairs to reform the dam to its original state may need to go through the owner’s security people. “Or we could leave this dam into a culvert, which lets water run through,” he said.

Committeeman Craig Frederick asked if Woolwich had the funding for these repairs. Marino stated that the storm damage to the area was documented, and the cost for everything would be $2,945.000. “Our CFO says we have to document all of the notes,” Marino mentioned. “Interest loans are low.”

Frederick suggested putting a temporary fill in Back Creek Road for financial reasons

Other roadways that are closed at the time of this writing include Moravian Church Road and Auburn Road. The rear entrance to Locke Avenue Park is closed to through traffic because a section of that roadway has been undermined and is unstable.

Marino observed that Locke Avenue Park was overwhelmed with water. Woolwich has already sent out emergency letters to the Department of Environmental Protection for repairs on a number of these roadways.

Back Creek Road is closed to through traffic at this writing. Residents should be seeing contractors in the area in early September.

Woolwich Engineer Travis Greiman pointed out, “There is probably damage that we haven’t looked at yet. I couldn’t hazard a guess on the costs.”

Marino said Woolwich expected to be working together with the county and state while going through the repair process. “Gloucester County’s Public Works spent much of Saturday attending to county roads while Woolwich Public Works attended to local roads and cleaned up debris throughout the township,” Marino commented. “The amount of rain that fell in such a short period of time was unprecedented to say the least.”

Greiman was authorized to make proposals and write emergency letters regarding repair funding.  Marino added, “If we don’t fix them, we’ll have gas lines exposed.”

Elsewhere, Deputy Mayor Natalie Matthias reported that Movie Night at Locke Avenue Park had about 50 children in attendance. “More virtual events will be in the works for fall,” she added.

Mathias said the state was still unsure whether those events would include classes.

People asked about the TDR program, and what it has accomplished during the public portion of the meeting. “Right now, the entire policy is tied up in litigation,” commented Marino. “Twelve years ago, we formed this task force to handle all of these questions. We’re in a different world today.”

In resolutions, the Committee approved the renewal of their membership in the Gloucester, Salem and Cumberland Counties Municipal Joint Insurance Fund. They also authorized the $21,500 quote of Remington and Vernick Engineers for bid preparation on the Contract Administration and inspection of emergency repairs to Back Creek Road.

— By Robert Holt

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