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I-80 Rehab Project Underway, Residents Still Have Concerns

Littleton Road corridor residents have a list of requests to minimize what they'll have to endure as the 2-plus year construction project goes on.

The New Jersey Department of Transportation is moving full steam ahead on its $73 million rehabilitation of Interstate 80 in Parsippany despite .

Work on the project was slated to begin over the past weekend, according to department spokesperson Timothy Greeley. 

The project, officials say, will address approximately four linear miles of eastbound and westbound travel lanes on I-80 and will mean a reconfiguration of the I-80 eastbound exit ramp to both directions of I-287 and the Route 202/Littleton Road northbound ramp to eastbound I-80.

Greeley said the goal is to provide safer and more efficient traffic flow throughout the corridor.

over the placement of a construction staging site right at Littleton Road near Marcella and Kingston roads. Trees in the area were cleared in early August, leaving a stretch of dirt and eliminating much of the buffer that protected residents from the sound of the expressway.

"The project was not supposed to start until Aug. 28," said Mary Purzycki, who lives near the staging site. "The DOT had a responsibility to meet with the town and get the plan okayed before anything was done and they didn't.

"The construction company [Union Paving & Construction Co.] jumped the gun."

Greeley said that is not true.

"The area in question is state right-of-way, so the contractor didn't need an OK from Parsippany," he told Patch. "Aug. 28 was a tentative date for the start of construction. That date was expedited, and the contractor [started last] weekend."

Regarding a pre-construction meeting with township officials, Greeley said that no one from Parsippany attended.

Purzycki said she had heard that news too.

"The NJDOT forgot to inform the township of the initial construction planning meeting once the contract was awarded to Union Paving and Construction Co.," she said. "Once the NJDOT realized this, they should have put a hold on the construction site so that the township would be allowed to voice their concerns. The DOT's excuse was people were on vacation! Give me a break!"

Greeley said he is "looking into truth of this."

"I don't know if there was a miscommunication," he told Patch. "I'll need to dig into that. That type of coordination between the department and the municipality is something we strive to make a big part of our projects."

He insisted that NJDOT wants to do whatever is possible to minimize any inconvenience to residents.

"We're going to be in Parsippany for the better part of two-plus years," he said. "We've met with township engineers and police regarding safety access, increased signange or striping we can do to alleviate those concerns."

However, one perceived problem that will not go away is the staging site.

Purzycki said residents are trying to make their peace with that notion, but that they will fight for other concessions from the NJDOT regarding the site.

"An entrance and exit driveway from the construction staging area should be opened onto the eastbound entrance to I-80 near the cell tower on the state-owned property," she said. "This would eliminate the need for the construction vehicles to use the exit and entrance on Littleton Road at Kingston Road."

She also said residents want a guarantee that no construction vehicles will use local residential streets, including Richard Street and Camden, Everett, Alloway, Marcella and Kingston roads. They also want the speed limit cut from 40 to 30 miles per hour along Littleton near the Park Road traffic signal.  

Purzycki also wants protection from construction sounds.

"This is a day and night, six days a week operation," she said. "Parsippany has a noise ordinance which this project has not gotten a waiver for from the town council. Since there are homes less than 200-500 feet from the site, the nighttime and weekend noise must be kept to a minimum during these hours.

"The NJDOT website has a statement that says it cannot enter a town and make changes without the town's consent," she insisted. "What happened to our tree and sound ordinances which the Union Paving Company didn't respect?"

Greeley said the trees will be replaced and that netting will surround the area to lessen the sound of construction during the project.

"We're also looking into changing the exit of the staging site," he said. "We've had conversations with some concerned residents, and the idea has been expressed directly to our resident engineer and the community relations office. We have our traffic safety engineers looking at this along with the signage issue.

" broached the idea of changing the  signage and striping, and we're delving into whether it's feasbile to accommodate that request from the residents."

Greeley said the department understands that the proximity of the staging area would create some impact for residents.

The department wants to do what we can to minimize that impact," he said. "It's all under consideration now. Hopefully we can do something to better accommdate the residents."

On Aug. 15, NJDOT representatives are slated to meet with township administration in a private meeting to discuss these matters, including the replacement of the old-growth trees cleared from the staging site.

Purzycki said the residents have ideas about that too.

"Four- and 6-inch caliper trees should and must be used," she said. 

The activist said she is sending a letter enumerating resident concerns to Mayor James Barberio, Police Chief Anthony DeZenzo and Justin Lizza, the town engineer.

"If they won't let us into their meeting, we will be heard." 

Meanwhile, the transportation department soon starts construction on a large-scale resurfacing project to address seven miles of I-287 later this month.  

"The limits of the two projects overlap at the 80/287 interchange, but the construction is being coordinated to ensure that the projects will not impact or interfere with each other," said a NJDOT statement.

This area has been a focus of infrastructure improvement in recent years as the NJDOT just completed a  last month.  In late 2010,  which realigned the ramp from I-80 westbound onto I-287 northbound, the ramp from I-287 northbound onto I-80 westbound and the ramp from Littleton Road to I-287 northbound.

joe raich August 13, 2012 at 03:45 PM
The 202/Littleton Rd ramp to I-80 East currently connects the Lake Parsippany area with Lake Hiawatha area off I-80 local lanes. I hope that this DOT project doesn't further divide my town. If DOT closes this ramp our schools, the main branch of the library, the many corporations, and friends will be divided. Highway connetions would also become disconnected. This bad idea first came to my attention while I was on the Parsippany-Troy Hills Traffic Safety Advisory Committee.
joe raich August 13, 2012 at 04:21 PM
What good are any of these "advisory committees" if the current administration ignore well meaning recomendations of serious minded citizens, who are unpaid, with only serving Parsippany as their motivation???
clyde donovan August 13, 2012 at 04:23 PM
Rainbow Lakes, Lake Parsippany and Lake Hiawatha will be protected from further changes in the future because local preservationists want all three areas to be listed on the state and national registers of historic places.
Zach August 13, 2012 at 10:10 PM
Joe, The project will not divide the town but make it safer for Lake Parsippany residents. The connecting road off of Littleton that becomes the on ramp to 80 will be removed and relocated to off of Littleton so that drivers aren't speeding through that service road. I think it is Frontage road. But the residents that live on Camden, Everett, Northfield, and Marmora hopefully can feel relieved that drivers won't be doing 40 or 50 down their street towards 80. I know it's a 25 zone but people like to rush onto the highway especially on Frontage. As for the frustration with the construction process and the safety/comfortably hazards they will be addressed. My advice would be to stop by the Parsippany Engineering Office (973 263 7266) when you get a chance and see the actual project site plan. Hopefully this helps and you'll feel less frustrated. Zach
d-dubbs August 14, 2012 at 12:29 AM
We shouldn't have to GO find out what the layout of this project looks like. We as residents to this town, especially the residents who live in the construction zone, should be shown the layout. Hey, maybe our wonderful Patch can help us out there? I’m all for changing the exit to 287 because it is a disaster in the morning, but removing the ramp to get onto 80 east! The whole interchange for 202 is so wacky already. Cutting off the ramp that benefits EVERYONE traveling 202 North is just absurd! Just pave the stretch of 80 and redesign the 287 ramp. Leave the lifeline from 202 north alone. That could have saved some money too.
Julia Peterson August 14, 2012 at 03:24 AM
Tabor Corruption: Don't know the source of your information, but also don't know any local preservationists who have proposed this.....
Natalie Davis (Editor) August 14, 2012 at 03:57 AM
We're working on it, d-dubbs. ;-)
Angelina August 14, 2012 at 01:15 PM
cool. thanks town of parsippany for ruining our lives for the next 2.5 years! i live on one of those 2 roads effected, very close to the site... and quite frankly, this sucks. maybe some more consideration for the people it effects should have been given. Way to go. another negative on the current town council. you're making it very hard for us to like you! the day they changed the road markers there was an accident! maybe some signs would be nice? this isn't rocket science. terrible terrible idea.
joe raich August 14, 2012 at 01:30 PM
Zach: For 2.5 years you'll screw up the whole town ??? Ange is right on !!! I don't see how to get from the main library to Lake Hiawatha area, maybe you can get the map showing your "improvements" on patch, and present your insanity to the rest of the town.
d-dubbs August 14, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Joe, for you to get to the Lk Hiawatha area from the library if they close the 202 north ramp for 80 you would need to travel the ENITRE 202 interchange to get to the southbound side of 202 to get the exit for 80 east. Or, take 202 all the way down to rt 46 east. But we definitely need to be shown this map!
Lucy August 15, 2012 at 08:44 PM
I would love to know; since I live literally right there...what tax break NJ is going to give me for this mess? I hear trucks (that shake my house literally) LATE at night...I have a 23 month old child! And two more years of this?!? I for one would like some compensation...instead of higher taxes, thank you.
Arthur Malkin August 30, 2012 at 02:36 PM
Please post the project map on Patch.
Madison Station June 16, 2013 at 11:00 PM
Still waiting for Patch and/or the State to tell us what the project will actually look like when complete. The transparency and accountability of this project really stinks...

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