Despite roadwork, flooding continues

Contractor required to come back to fix standing water problem

By carolyn o

By carolyn o’connell
Staff Writer

OCEANPORT — Work done on Horicon Avenue, just paved in August, hardly addresses the flooding problem which residents have been complaining about for over 20 years.

The last few rain storms, including the rains which came last weekend residents on the South side of Horicon Avenue, have had water pooling up to their driveways.

For Steve and Angela Papayliou on Horicon Avenue, getting to their front doorway has become difficult due to the rising water which pools the length of the front of their property.

"After the paving, the drainage has still been a problem," said Papayliou. "The problem is worse than before."

The recent road project which was completed in August did not remedy the flooding which the Papaylious have been complaining about for 25 years.

Mayor Gordon Gemma said he agrees that the problem still exists, and that the contractor needs to return to correct the problem.

The flooding problem continues onto Papayliou’s neighbors’ homes down to Port-Au-Peck Avenue.

"The contractor did not do the best job that he could, and some mistakes have been made," said Gemma. "Mistakes do happen, but they will be fixed."

The good news is that because the performance bond has not been released, the contractor is still obligated to correct the work. "This will not cost any additional money to the borough," said Gemma.

What Gemma does not agree with is that the road is worse than before. "This road has been in horrible condition and has not been touched in years. After the paving, the condition of the road has improved."

The project was awarded to Miche Contracting located in South River, and was paid through a New Jersey Department of Traffic grant in the amount of $150,000.

The original bid specifications were to improve and pave Port-Au-Peck Avenue, Wyandotte Avenue, Mohican Avenue, and Horicon Avenue.

According to Councilman Gary E. Wolfe only Port-Au-Peck Avenue and Horicon Avenue could be improved with the money allotted through the grant program.

For Horicon Avenue, noted Wolfe, the specifications called for excavating and stabilizing the road finished with an overlay of blacktop.

"Because the road has no inlets, drainage relies on gravity to run water off the street," said Wolfe.

He added, "Part of the problem is that on Port-Au-Peck Avenue, the drainage inlet was too high for the water to run into from Horicon Avenue. That was corrected before the project ended."

Papayliou said after having read an article in the Oct. 11 Atlanticville in which Wolfe said that Wardell Circle will be completed in a two-step process, that the first step to improve the drainage system concerns him.

"I am concerned about Wolfe’s performance," said Papayliou. "Wolfe is the person who supervised our street [Horicon] and repeatedly came to address the flooding, but nothing was ever accomplished."

He added, "I am concerned about the other roads which fall under Wolfe’s supervision."

Papayliou said Oct. 16 that contractors were out in front of his home digging a ditch to help the water drain to the end of the road, but the water did not drain.

After having a conversation with Gemma about the situation, Papayliou said, "I feel that because the mayor, who I have high regard for, said the problem will be corrected, the problem will be corrected."

According to Gemma, the contractors’ money on the project is being held up until they take the responsibility to correct the problem.

"This road will need to be completed to specifications," said Gemma, "and it will be done."

What the contractor has to do, noted Gemma, is to add more blacktop using infrared to create a seamless patch.

This will correct the problem, giving an angle for the water to drain since the road does not have storm drains.

"Another solution would be to add a storm drain, said Gemma; however, that will not be happening since it is not included in the specifications, and a drain would take six to eight months to install."

According to Gemma, an approximate standard for ponding is not more than 1/8 or 1/4 of an inch of water for more than 24 hours after it rains.

"Mr. Papayliou is right that this has not been done correctly," said Gemma, "but it will be done."