Cranbury's Brainerd Lake Dam Repairs Moving Forward
The potential for reducing flooding in town is an incentive behind the project, engineers said.
Brainerd Lake dam in Cranbury will get long overdue repairs, with bids requests for the project being planned for the fall.
Engineers from Najarian Associate, who were hired by Middlesex County, presented the project at the Feb. 27 Township Committee meeting. The dam repairs will reduce flooding in the area, but the project was not intended to prevent flooding.
“This is a dam-rehabilitation project, not a flood-control project,” said Vajira Gunawardana, an engineer at Najarian Associates.
Some of the project’s repairs include increasing the 36-foot spillway to 100 feet, removing the concrete beach, replacing upstream wall and cap, and laying concrete blocks covered in soil to help with erosion, according to Gunawardana.
The plan also calls for elevating the driveway to school fields about 4.5 inches, which will create a 6-inch slope in the road for water to drain, Gunawardana and Mayor David Cook said.
The total cost is around $3 million, with Cranbury and the county each footing half the bill.
"It’s a rare opportunity not only to address important issues like the flooding and water control, but also present aesthetically changes that you couldn’t do under any other circumstances,” Cook said.
The Cranbury Historical and Preservation Society and the Township Committee will have input on decisions including railing and streetlight types.
Cook, who lives on Maplewood Avenue next to the lake, is hopeful the dam repairs will help flooding at his house.
“We’ve owned the house since 1966 and it never flooded until Irene,” Cook said. “The hope is yes, that all the homeowners on North and South [Main Street] should find relief with this new project.”
After construction, the dam should be able to withstand up to a 10-year storm, Gunawardana said.
At some point during the project the sidewalks and roadway will need to be closed, but the plan calls for alternate sides to be closed so both pedestrian and car traffic will still be able to get by.
The next steps include applying for permits, and the lake will need to be drained before work can begin, Gunawardana said.
The lake will remain drained until the project is complete.