The NJDOT has a hypocritical, dangerous safety plan. Shrink the shoulders and lanes in the s-curve, on I-80, so they can blast the base of Mount Tammany and build a “Jurassic-style” fence to satisfy their poorly justified rockfall concern. During this 5-year, $58 million, disaster project, they will blast, scrape and dig 20-30 feet into the mountain to build a 20–60 foot-high wall/fence. The fence will even go up the west side of the cliff. They will also create a ditch, called a catchment area, behind the fence to catch rocks. We think they need the ditch because of the destabilization construction will cause. When done, all sign of the iconic, natural rock formation, and vegetation, will be lost forever. And, nothing will have been done to solve the well-known safety issues of the s-curve.
A NJ Congressman, Pa. and NJ State Senators, Pa. Representatives, NJ Assemblymen, and Warren County Freeholder have written letters representing our concerns. We have time to stop it, with your help.
– NJDOT has no plan to study and quantify Community Impact – residential safety, highway safety, traffic, lifestyle, economic and damage to infrastructure.
– NJDOT refuses to provide the data used to support their weak claim of 11 rockfall events over a 17-year period.
– In 2011, the highway width limit was identified by a NJDOT Geotechnical Engineer, as a reason large scale rock removal was NOT feasible. This has been ignored!
– NJDOT has not shown good faith. We have the evidence of confusing, conflicting and contradicting data; not following through with promises; ignoring requests to meet; claiming they offered to meet; then saying they are no longer meeting with stakeholders.
– NJDOT wants us to believe their plan of narrowing lanes and reducing shoulders to 1 foot, to create a 15-foot work zone, will keep traffic flowing and will not create additional safety issues. This is not possible.
– Using NJDOT provided plan specs, two tractor trailers, side by side, will not fit in the s-curve during construction. We show this using AutoCAD engineering software. The NJDOT solution— restrict trucks to the outside lane both east and westbound, relying on driver compliance. Insane!
This section had 80 accidents in 2016, unrelated to rockfall, without shrinking the lanes or shoulders. The residential, pedestrian, small business, tourist towns along Route 611, and near the Columbia–Portland Bridge, get crushed often with highway traffic due to these accidents in the gap. The s-curve, built in 1953, has a “design deficient” shoulder width, curve radius and sight distance!
Increase the 80 accidents by 18%, which is New Jersey’s work-zone accident rate. This project would start with 95 accidents per year, two accidents per week. Imagine this with a narrower s-curve and the distraction of this destruction/construction zone, feet from our vehicles— for 5 years!
Everyone will be affected or know people who are— residents, commuters, visitors, and the Pocono Tourism Industry. The Appalachian Trail crosses Rout 611 in the quiet, historic village of Delaware Water Gap. Thru hikers will need a light!
Many are working behind the scenes to get NJDOT to responsibly study the community impacts and all alternatives. Our coalition is building and educating our team. We are preparing for the upcoming public hearing.
For the evidence and how to help, visit us on Facebook: I80DWGCoalition. Read and sign our petition to get email updates. https://www.change.org/Stop-The-I80-Rockfall-Gridlock-Plan
Tara Mezzanotte is a founding member of the I-80 Fence and Safety Concerns at the Delaware Water Gap Coalition. Find our more information online at Facebook: I80DWGCoalition or email I80DWGCoaltion@gmail.com. Sign the petition online at https://www.change.org/Stop-The-I80-Rockfall-Gridlock-Plan.