Audit the possible misuse of $150M of NJDOT Rockfall money in Warren and Hunterdon
Audit the possible misuse of $150M of NJDOT Rockfall money in Warren and Hunterdon
Hey NJTPA - Stop funding these projects until an investigation is complete - $150M misused?? Review the evidence in our packet sent to the NJTPA
Our investigation found possible policy and procedures violations that appear to have started before 2013:
- A bait and switch type scheme may have been used on several projects
- Knowlton, Warren County and PA were removed from the public outreach plan in 2013
- the 2013 I-80 project contract is NOT the project recommended plan nor is it the project that was approved by FHWA in 2011
- the traffic control plan and known roadway limits were ignored
February 27, 2021 - After reviewing the contract for the Rt. 29 Devil's Tea Table Project - we decided to add all Hunterdon County Rockfall Project to our petition. We support, respect and appreciate the efforts of the Devil's Tea Table Alliance. We see similar concerning patterns and feel all Warren and Hunterdon County projects should be put on pause!
- FHWA should immediately mandates an Environmental Impact Statement/Study.
- NJTPA or the NJ Legislature should pass Senate, No. 2863 & Assembly, No. 4601 to pauses funding for a review.
- NJTPA should pauses funding pending the outcome of an investigation.
Governor Murphy, the North Jersey Transportation Authority, NJ State Legislature - STOP THE FUNDING!!!
STOP these NJDOT multiyear $150M+ projects, until all alternatives, community and other environmental impacts are studied.
- I-78, Jugtown Mt - initial estimate $8M – now $46M
- I-80, DWG - initial estimate $5M - now $65M
- Route 29, - Devil's Tea Table initial estimate $8-$10M – now $34M.
- Route 29, West Amwell/Lambertville estimate $20M
The I80 Rockfall Project promises - lane closures - construction and narrowing the lanes = increased gridlock = increased safety risk and impact to the economy, tourism, EMS routes potential damage to infrastructure.
- The plan lacks justification of imminent danger from rockfall for such an enormously damaging, costly and inefficient project that will last for years. The NJDOT claim - 11 rockfall events involving motor vehicles over a 17 year period from 2001 to 2018 - has not been substantiated.
- The plan does nothing to address the known S-Curve design deficiencies, identified in the 2011 Concept Development Report, which puts 19 million drivers at risk of becoming one of the over 80 known accidents a year in the S-Curve – not related to rockfall.
- The plan puts the public at increased risk of harm. Detour routes identified in the 2011 Concept Development Report bring highway traffic volumes and tractor trailers into residential communities onto roads not equipped and rated for this. One of the main detour routes, Route 611, is a narrow two-lane road with no shoulder or divider. It has known rockfall issues.
- No study has been done to measure the economic impact to business and tourism or safety risks to pedestrians and urban communities.
- Emergency services travel to the nearest hospital through the work zone path or through the highway detour Route 611. This exponentially increases risk of additional harm. Lives could be lost due to delay in getting to hospital.
- It will damage The Appalachian National Scenic Trail viewshed and irreparably mar and limit access to the historically, culturally, and recreationally significant Mt. Tammany.
- The NJDOT has not shown good faith to the spirit of the required Public Involvement Action Plan (PIAP).
- Other DOT projects - Route 611 & the massive THE I80 STROUDSBURG AREA EXPANTION PROJECT, will exacerbate our safety concerns.
Our coalition formed on July 1, 2019 to assist our elected officials as they represent community interests related to safety, preservation, lifestyle, and infrastructure concerns with the 5 Year/$58 Million NJDOT I80Rockfall Mitigation Plan in the Delaware Water Gap. It will begin in 2023, unless we convince the Federal Highway Administration to order an Environmental Impact Statement/Study.
We are not contesting that mitigation may be required in the project area. We are contesting that the proposed plan is rational, effective, or considerate of the harms that will result to our local citizens and environment.
- We had no idea we would still be fighting today
- We did not know this project may lead to revealing improper practices at the NJDOT.
- The project will begin in 2023, unless we convince the Federal Highway Administration to order an Environmental Impact Statement/Study
- Added 2/27/2021: we hope this leads to an EIS for the Route 29/Devil's Tea Table project.
I80 DWG Coalition Mission: Our group is designed to educate and assist those concerned with finding information regarding local community efforts to:
- to help the NJDOT address the current known safety issues of the S-curve on Route 80 at the Delaware Water Gap,
- ensure any construction in this area respects the natural beauty and the historical, cultural and recreational significance of Mount Tammany,
- keep traffic flowing during construction.
We created this petition in August 2019, presenting it to the NJTPA, requesting they NOT fund the project. They voted to fund it, to allow the NJDOT to continue the "process". To date - NONE of the issues we present above have been addressed and many more have been revealed.
In fact, the long awaited FAQ and website update, finally posted in July 2020, continues to produce false and misleading statements. It is clear the NJDOT is barreling forward with this plan without providing a public meeting, studies, and records many have requested many times since 2017.
For the most up to date information please visit our Facebook Page: I80DWGCoaliton Facebook Page
In addition to the 1559 signatures put on a 2018 petition voicing opposition and concerns, the following officials, organizations and municipalities have written over 60 letters and resolutions of opposition, listed concerns, and put out press releases in opposition to the plan: US Senator Corey Booker, US Senator Bob Casey, Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ), Congresswoman Susan Wild (NJ), NJ Senator Steve Oroho, NJ Assemblyman Hal Wirths, NJ Assemblyman Parker Space, PA State Senator Mario Scavello, PA State Representative Rosemary Brown, PA Representative Joe Emrick, Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau, NJ Sierra Club, National Parks Conservation, Access Fund, NJ League of Municipalities, the NW Governing Officials Association, Borough of Delaware Water Gap, Borough of Portland, East Bangor Borough, East Stroudsburg, Independence Land Use Board, Independence Township, Lower Mount Bethel Township, Middle Smithfield Township, Plainfield Township, Smithfield Township, Stroudsburg, Belvidere, Township of Blairstown, Township of Hardwick, Township of Hope Township of Knowlton, Township of Knowlton, Township of Liberty, Township of Mansfield, Township of Pohatcong, Township of Stillwater, and Upper Mount Bethel Township.
If this level non-partisan bi-state opposition is not enough to have a project paused for review, we question what is.
EVIDENCE SUPPORTING OUR ASSERTATIONS
- DID THE NJDOT EXPLORE ALL ALTERNATIVES AS REQUIRED? No, yet they have claimed yes. Click here for our Fact Check: Alternatives Presentation (8 pages plus exhibits of evidence)
- IS THE NJDOT WITHHOLDING TRAFFIC AND DETOUR DATA REQUESTED? Yes, they have developed traffic and detour plans, yet, they claim these are not developed until Final Design. Not true! Click here for our Fact Check: Traffic and Detour Plans (11 pages plus exhibits of evidence)
- HAS THE NJDOT BEEN FORTHRIGHT ABOUT FUNDING - NO: Click here to see the evidence:
- Volume 1 PDF (Released January 26, 2020): Comprehensive, evidence based introduction to the history and issues
- Volume 2 PDF (Released April 5, 2020): NEW evidence the NJDOT has not been forthright with rockfall statements, why the project cost and timeline exploded from 9 month, $5 Million in 2011 to 5 years, $58 Million in 2019, and the position of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.
Preserve the Gap, Fix the S-Curve, Stop the Wall!
For the history, implications and how else to help visit: https://www.facebook.com/groups/I80DWGCoalition/
Contact us at: 180DWGCoalition@gmail.com 908-656-4603