TRENTON – State lawmakers who represent Bound Brook are seeking an independent investigation into flooding in the borough caused the remnants of Hurricane Ida, made possible by a disabled NJ Transit train that blocked the town’s floodgates.

Sen. Michael Doherty, Assemblyman John DiMaio and Assemblyman Erik Peterson, Republicans from the 23rd Legislative District, said they will introduce a bill requiring the investigation into what happened that prevented the protective gates from being able to close.

“It’s extremely concerning that the $300 million floodgate system that was put in place to protect Bound Brook from flooding was defeated by a disabled NJ Transit train that shouldn’t have been running,” said Doherty, R-Warren.

DiMaio, R-Warren, said the National Weather Service had issued flash flood warnings for the area including the Raritan Valley Line and that actual flooding had been occurring by the time the train, #5450, got stuck.

“Why didn’t New Jersey Transit or Gov. Murphy take the warnings seriously enough? Why didn’t anyone think to halt the trains in a safe place after flooding was reported?” DiMaio said. “Because of these failures, Bound Brook flooded yet again.”

The flood controls built to protect Bound Brook after Hurricane Floyd in 1999 include three floodgates, including the one that couldn’t close after Ida due to the train. The rest of the system worked as it was designed and kept other parts of Bound Brook from flooding.

“While it took decades to plan and build Bound Brook’s flood control system, it took just seconds for a stuck train to prevent it from working,” said Peterson, R-Hunterdon. “Since NJ Transit may bear some legal liability for the flood damage to homes and businesses that resulted, we shouldn’t leave it up to them to tell us what went wrong.”

READ: Once synonymous with flooding, here’s how Bound Brook, NJ stood up to Ida

Read More: Bound Brook flooding during Ida |

Homes and a business in the west end of Bound Brook were flooded. NJ Transit said its train was surrounded by debris and moving waters at about 9:30 p.m. on Sept. 1. and couldn't be immediately towed.

Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday he hadn’t seen the request for an independent investigation.

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“We obviously want to make sure we know exactly what happened,” Murphy said. “I spoke to the mayor, who’s a really good guy, right after it happened. I know he wants to get to the bottom of it, and I can say on behalf of NJ Transit we’ll do everything we can to learn – figure out what happened, learn. I think NJ Transit did a lot of other related stuff to mitigate.”

Michael Symons is State House bureau chief for New Jersey 101.5. Contact him at

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