SAVE US FROM THE NJDOT I-80 ROCKFALL PLAN IT PUTS THE PUBLIC AT RISK! STOP THE NONSENSE!
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We continue to oppose the I-80 ROCKFALL PLAN for the reasons listed below as they remain unresolved. In addition on Sept 4th the NJDOT stated: that the department is “confident” that the project “will be constructed with unimpeded traffic flow and without direct impact to the local economy.” REALITY CHECK! It is not possible to construct anything in the s-Curve without a lane closure. It is not possible due to its design. This has been certified by an expert in the field. OFF PEAK CONSTRUCTION WILL CREATE GRIDLOCK!
Lane closure = gridlock = safety risk and impact to the economy, tourism, EMS routes potential damage to infrastructure.
We ask the NJTPA to follow through with it's offer to have another engineer review the plans to offer an opinion and to leave open the possibility to have this project modified in every way including to defund it.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. No study has been done to measure the economic impact to business and tourism or safety risks to pedestrians and urban communities.
5. 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.
6. It will damage The Appalachian National Scenic Trail viewshed and irreparably mar the historically and culturally significant Mt. Tammany.
7. The NJDOT has not shown good faith to the spirit of the required Public Involvement Plan (PIP).
In May, NJTPA trustee Jason Sarnoski wrote the board recommending this project be removed from the draft up for vote. Board Member Sarnoski represents the people and interests of the county well where construction is planned as a Warren County Freeholder.
On September 6, 2019, NJ Senator Oroho and Assemblymen Space and Wirths wrote the NJTPA prior to the funding vote stating, "..as of now, we do not feel that the case has yet been made to justify the projects' inclusion in the TIP and we are asking that it be removed from consideration".
In addition to the 1559 signatures put on a 2018 petition voicing opposition and concerns, the following officials, organizations and municipalities have written over 45 letters and resolutions of opposition, listed concerns, and put out press releases in opposition to the plan: US Representative Josh Gottheimer, 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, Lenape Indian Tribe, Delaware Nation Tribe, Stockbridge-Munsee Tribe, 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, Stoudsburg, 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.
We also question the mechanism used to notify affected parties of the 30-day Public Comment period which ended on 8/26. The NJTPA Public Engagement Plan, states it will: “Provide notification to a listing of representative interest groups, stakeholders, and agencies in the region”. Clearly had we known about such an opportunity to comment, numerous stakeholders would have done so.
If this level non-partisan opposition is not enough to have a project pulled, we question what is.
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/
Link to Construction Expert statement - NO CONSTRUCTION CAN HAPPEN WITHOUT A LANE CLOSURE IN THE WORK AREA FOR SAFETY REASONS. https://documentcloud.adobe.com/link/track?uri=urn%3Aaaid%3Ascds%3AUS%3Ab32cea9d-5b86-4691-b8bf-42dc20b88a4f
Link to FACTS AND EVIDENCE Document supporting the above assortations (173pgs): https://documentcloud.adobe.com/link/track?uri=urn%3Aaaid%3Ascds%3AUS%3A0de3c34a-9cfe-47b7-b236-687733983033
Sept. 15th: NJ.com Express Times Opinion Staff Editorial: Interstate 80 rock wall a waste of taxpayer dollars
Sept 9th: 69 WFMZ NEWS: Authority greenlights funding for fence aimed at mitigating potential rockslides near I-80
Sept. 9th NJ Herald Article: Local officials to demand rock wall project funding be taken off the table
Sept. 9th LVL Article: Warren County’s complaints about proposed I-80 rock fence fail to sway N.J. board
Sept. 5th NJ.com LVL Article: N.J. SHOULD STRAIGHTN I-80
Sept. 5th NJ Herald Article: GOTTHEIMER LOCAL OFFICIALS VIEW I-80 FENCE AREA
Sept. 1st lehighvalleylive.com Article: N.J. towns step up fight against ‘Jurassic Park’ fence meant to protect I-80 from rockfalls
Aug. 29th NJ Herald Article: OPPONENTS SEEK TO NIX ROUTE 80 ROCKALL PROJECT
The 312 page NJDOT 2011 Concept Development Report for the project link:https://www.state.nj.us/transportation/business/procurement/ProfServ/documents/I-80WBRockfallMitigationCDReportSept2011.pdf
Contact us at: 180DWGCoalition@gmail.com
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