Tropical Storm Ida Update

Last updated September 24, 2021

Hurricane Ida’s remnants brought catastrophic levels of rain to Chester County on September 1, 2021. The western region of East Bradford, which encompasses the Brandywine and Valley Creeks, were the most impacted. The structures located at the confluence of the Brandywine were particularly devastated. The State of Pennsylvania declared an emergency on August 31, 2021, the Township issued a declaration on September 1, 2021, and Chester County announced its emergency declaration yesterday (September 9, 2021).

 

IMPACTED RESIDENTS

Rebuilding
Our staff attended a FEMA training webinar yesterday on reconstruction of damaged homes. FEMA will also be meeting with impacted municipalities in the coming weeks to provide further guidance. So far, the information we’ve gathered indicates that the ability to rebuild depends upon the level of damage sustained to each individual structure. Therefore, there is not a one-size-fits-all answer to the question, but rather each structure will have to be reviewed on an individual basis. If you are interested in rebuilding, please contact our Zoning Officer, Andrea Campisi (acampisi@eastbradford.org or (610) 436-5108 x110) (if you haven’t done so already). In addition, if you live on Cottage Lane or River Bend Lane, contact the property owner to find out whether they will grant permission to rebuild.

 

Debris Removal
The Township had dumpsters delivered to Cottage and River Bend Lanes earlier this week. These dumpsters are scheduled to be swapped out Monday, Wednesday, and Friday until they are no longer needed. This schedule may be altered to adjust to how quickly they fill up. Tenley Adams is coordinating this effort; she can be reached at tadams@eastbradford.org or (610) 436-5108 x106.

 

FEMA Relief
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has announced that federal disaster assistance has been made available to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to supplement commonwealth and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by Hurricane Ida. Chester County is included in the declared area, and this will open up Individual Assistance and Hazard Mitigation funding to assist our residents and businesses in recovering.

The FEMA press release and informational posters provide direction for how residents and businesses can file a claim. Residents and businesses can start the process now by either filing a claim online at www.disasterassistance.gov or calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).

FEMA has established a Disaster Recovery Center, for Chester County residents only.  It is located at the Ashbridge Square Shopping Center, 945 E. Lancaster Avenue, Downingtown (between the Christmas Tree Shop and Staples Stores).

As individuals register with FEMA, a FEMA contracted inspector will contact them to set up an inspection of their residence. They will be carrying FEMA or a FEMA contractor badge. If they don’t have a FEMA ID, and they don’t show it when asked, they probably aren’t a FEMA inspector. Unfortunately, after disasters there is an increase for potential fraud.

 

Small Business Association (SBA) Loans
Chester County residents and businesses affected by the remnants of Hurricane Ida can now apply for low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Under the SBA disaster assistance program, certain Chester County homeowners, renters, and business owners can apply for loans to repair or replace disaster-damaged or destroyed real estate, and to repair or replace disaster-damaged or destroyed personal property. The press releases, fact sheet, and flyer provide more information. If you have any questions, please contact Chester County Public Information Officer Rebecca Brain at 610-344-6279, rbrain@chesco.org, or Rich Wisniewski at 856-981-9622, rwisniewski@chesco.org

 

BRIDGES & ROADS

  • Ravine Road Bridge (Valley Creek) – This bridge sustained considerable damage and a structural inspection is scheduled. We inquired about the specific schedule but have not received a response. In addition to potential bridge damage, there was severe pavement damage. If the bridge is deemed safe by the inspection, Public Works will be able to repair the pavement on the approaches. The work will take two or three days to complete, but the start date will be dependent on securing a paver and milling machine.
  • Harmony Hill Road / Gibson’s Covered Bridge (Brandywine Creek) – This is County bridge. The County’s recent inspection reported significant damage to wingwalls and siding. In addition, an engineering review of the anchoring system is needed to determine whether there is damage/movement. As such, the bridge will be closed indefinitely, until such time as the engineering review and repair work can be scheduled.
  • Harmony Hill Road / Grubbs Mill Bridge (Valley Creek) – This bridge has been repaired and is now open.
  • Embreeville Road (PA-162) Arch Bridge (Brandywine Creek) (not in East Bradford) – PennDOT Maintenance closed this bridge due to severe damage. They are detouring traffic and sought temporary relief from the truck restriction on Bradford Avenue. No updates from PennDOT with regards to the start of repair work.
  • Lenape Road (Route 52) Bridge (Brandywine Creek) (not in East Bradford) – We received word that PennDOT is in the process of contracting out the debris removal by the former Picnic Park. We do not have any information about specific timing.  We requested an update the week of September 20, but have not received a response.
  • Brandywine TRAIL Pedestrian Bridge (Brandywine Creek) – This bridge was inspected. While the inspection report indicated serious damage to the approach trail and deck surface, the bridge structure is sound. We are in the process of coordinating the repair work with West Bradford Township.

 

If you have any critical and unmet needs, contact Mandie Cantlin at mcantlin@eastbradford.org or (610) 436-5108 x101.

East Bradford