Route 46 reopened this past weekend after mudslides closed the highway for two weeks.
A flooded stream in the Beaver Brook Wildlife Management Area had breached a natural berm resulting in water and debris flowing down the side of the mountain and onto approximately a half-mile stretch of Route 46 between Manunka Chunk Road/Upper Serapta Road and CR 519/Hope Bridgeville Road in Knowlton, according to the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
Reopening the road required a substantial amount of work. The DOT said the immediate concerns included redirecting the flow of water down Brookside Avenue to protect homes and businesses from further damage. Unstable trees were removed from the hillside and debris removing began.
Before crews could clear and repair Route 46, the damaged berm had to be repaired to stop the water from flowing down the mountain onto the roadway. The DOT needed to build a temporary one-mile road to access the berm.
Once access was established, crews built gabion baskets filled with stone and set several layers to build a dam to stabilize the berm to stop the flow of water. In addition, NJDOT removed and replaced an existing deteriorated corrugated metal pipe with a new 36-inch, high-density polyethylene pipe, the DOT said. Inlets and culverts were repaired, and guiderails were replaced.
In all, the DOT said it removed 130 truckloads of debris totaling more than 2,600 tons.
More than seven inches of rain fell locally over the areas during intense thunderstorms that rocked Warren County July 15-16, according to the National Weather Service.
Pummeling the region in just a short amount of time resulted massive runoff that caused mudslides throughout Knowlton, White and Belvidere Sunday morning.
In Knowlton, roads that were closed included portions of Knowlton Road and Valley Street because of flooding while Ramseyburg Road and Hemlock Road were closed because of downed trees and wires.
In the meantime, Knowlton residents who have incurred damage from the storms are being asked to contact the municipal offices as soon as possible so a list can be compiled for an application for funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The number is (908) 496-4816. Those calling should leave their name, phone number and address.
Joe Phalon, Contributing Writer
Joe was lured out of retirement by the opportunity to be a part of the Ridge View Echo. During a decades-long career in publishing and journalism, he has covered government on many levels from local school boards to the United States Supreme Court.
Along the way, Joe has worked at American Lawyer Magazine, The National Law Journal and The Record among other publications, and as the Press Officer of Columbia Law School. His work has been recognized with several first place awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the New Jersey Press Association.
Being part of the Ridge View Echo brings Joe back to his roots and the kind of news coverage he loves: Telling the stories of people and local communities as well as keeping an eye on how their money is spent by their government officials.
Joe lives in Blairstown with his wife Rose, the founder of Quilting for a Cause, and their two wiener dogs. He is an artist in his spare time.