North Camden infrastructure improvements target streets, sewers, water
Cherry Hill Courier-Post
November 4, 2019
“Cobblestones are the original speed bumps,” joked U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross, “brought over from the Old Country.”
But while cobblestones may be the first way drivers in North Camden were forced to slow down, they’re hardly the only way: The neighborhood’s streets are uneven, prone to flooding, pocked with potholes and yes, the asphalt occasionally gives way to those bumpy but charming remnants of long-bygone days.
Some of those cobblestones will be covered, though, along with the potholes and dips in one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods. And new water and sewer improvements, officials said at a groundbreaking Monday, will help mitigate the flooding that homeowners and motorists have contended with for decades.
Norcross was in Camden — where he lives, several blocks away on the other side of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge — Monday afternoon along with his congressional colleague U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, to tout $16.2 million in federally-funded Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) work.
About two square miles of roads, many of them along the corridor that includes Vine, Elm and Main streets, along with Front, 2nd and 3rd streets, will first receive water and sewer improvements. Cobblestone in front historically significant homes along 2nd Street will be preserved, said Meishka Mitchell of Cooper’s Ferry Partnership (which handled the TIGER grant application process), but other cobblestone streets will have to be excavated for the water and sewer upgrades.
New decorative street lights will be installed, more trees will be planted and a green median strip will be book-ended by two roundabouts, Mitchell added.
The goal: Not only to make the streets more navigable for the cars coming to and from the Waterfront, Rutgers–Camden and downtown, but also to make them safer for the children who walk to school, for the elderly residents who want to stay in their neighborhood and need ADA-compliant walkways, and for cyclists and pedestrians who walk and pedal around the city.
Menendez said the TIGER funding, first awarded in 2016, was among one of the most competitive infrastructure grants offered by the federal Department of Transportation, with municipalities all over the country submitting $9 billion in requests for the program’s $500 million in funding.