The Third River will flow a little easier through Bloomfield this week.
Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission maintenance crews weathered snow on Monday as they cleared large tree branches and debris blocking the flow of Third River under an access bridge leading to 225 Belleville Ave.
“We are removing the blockage here from this overpass,” said River Restoration Program Manger Brian Davenport. “Basically the trees, debris and natural plant material wash down and they get hung up on this bottleneck here and raise the level of the river upstream a foot to two feet.”
The bridge leads to a large building complex housing a variety of businesses. The property is also located at the southern portion of Foley Field and residential homes to the north.
The Third River eventually ends its course in the Passaic River after it passes through Little Falls, Clifton, Montclair, Bloomfield and Nutley.
Parked on the narrow bridge, a handful of men using a small crane and claw ripped away mounds of debris clogging the flow of the river.
As crews removed the debris from the approximate 12-foot high bridge and cut it down to size with chainsaws, the level of the river – which was marked by the snowfall – slowly dropped more than a foot.
Davenport said the PVSC does the cleanup a couple times a year. He added that while the backup does not affect the area around the bridge because it has a 10-foot bank, he said a minimal backup could cause flooding to residential properties up- or downstream where embankments are lower.