Businesses work to reopen in New Hope

September 9, 2011 3:21:43 PM PDT
Firefighters in Stockton were hosing down Bridge Street this afternoon, but mud is the least of their worries.

The big concern is an almost half-mile stretch of the canal bank along the Delaware River that is literally collapsing.

"Very dangerously compromised. There's as narrow as 2 feet of the bank that's usually 8 or 10 feet wide, it could push through at any time," Stockton Fire Chief Paul Steffanelli said.

The situation is so serious local officials say heavy equipment is on its way to Stockton and when it gets here crews will begin working around the clock to shore up the canal wall before it has a chance to break through.

"I'm worried about the next storm coming up and coming right through. That means a lot more flooding here," Fire Company President Tom Grecco said.

And it poses a real threat to the city of Lambertville just south of Stockton.

If that weakened canal wall gives way, the water will head downstream in a torrent and Lambertville could be swamped by a major flash flood.

Across the raging Delaware River in New Hope, low-lying parts of town are still under water, but it became clear on Friday that the flooding was fairly moderate.

A small comfort for those who lost cars and other property.

Meanwhile, business owners were hard at work trying to be up and running for their customers.

"Any time, especially on a Friday, that places are shut down, that's people who aren't going to work and people who aren't making money," said Chris Williams of John and Pete's Music Club. "This is the second time this has happened in two weeks. It's kind of tough for us."

For most businesses the flooding has bee limited to basements but power had to be cut and food in restaurants tossed.

"It wasn't as bad as people thought it would be," said Alex Carbonell of the Sandbar Restaurant. Still, he said, he had to pump out water in the basement and get food back in the refrigerators.

At the water view condo, the scene of Thursday's boat evacuations, the river is still pouring over its banks. While floods may not be as widespread as it might have been there was plenty of evidence left behind by raging water.

Now crews are trying to restore power and get roads not structurally damaged cleaned up and reopened so life in this trendy, touristy area can get back to normal.

"Really lucky. We were right on the hairy edge of having a problem and the river kind of stayed there," said New Hope Borough Councilman Edward Duffy.

One piece of good news - the bridge from New Hope to Lambertville re-opened on Friday morning. It was closed because a tree in the fast-moving water hit it on Thursday and had to be inspected by engineers.

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