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NJDOT Grants Some I-80 Rehab Requests, Nixes Others

Another meeting between state transportation officials and residents is scheduled for Sept. 13.

New Jersey Department of Transportation officials and concerned Parsippany residents finally met face to face in a Monday night. The subject of the gathering was the currently in progress.

The due to the presence of a construction staging site at Littleton between Kingston and Marcella roads. Those who live nearby have stated objections including the removal of old-growth trees that served as a sound buffer between the highway and residential homes, the removal of road shoulder on Littleton Road, the presence of construction vehicles in neighborhoods and what they say are increasingly dangerous conditions for motorists and pedestrians in the area.

The NJDOT agreed to the meeting after a group of about a dozen residents led by Mary Purzycki of Marcella Road took the initiative to contact officials numerous times to first, request that the staging site be moved elsewhere—an idea that was rejected—and secondly, to insist upon compromises in the name of public safety and residents' quality of life.

When the department finally proposed a meeting, according to spokesperson Timothy Greeley, it was expected that town officials (who somehow were not invited to a preconstruction meeting held weeks ago) and NJDOT officials and contractor representatives would attend along with Purzycki and her handful of concerned neighbors.

"This meeting was an opportunity for a few resident representatives... so that we could provide them with direct answers on [their] concerns that have been building the last couple of weeks," Greeley told Patch.

Instead, he said about 75 citizens showed up.

Media were not invited to attend the gathering.

According to Greeley, the department did what it could to mollify people living in the area, but all requests could not be granted.

"Residents asked if our construction vehicles could enter and exit the staging site directly onto I-80 eastbound to avoid using the local Littleton Road/US 202 on the south side of the staging area, closest to their homes," he said. "We cannot accommodate them because it would be unsafe for the trucks as well as for motorists on I-80.  We simply cannot have slow-to-accelerate trucks merging onto an active freeway."

Some, however, were considered and okayed, he said.

"They asked if we could ensure that construction vehicles, including those of construction workers, could be kept off of their neighborhood streets that intersect with Littleton Road," he said. "We said the construction vehicles and crews will not need to use local streets, except to travel along Littleton Road/Frontage Road to get from 202 southbound to our staging area and get to the slip ramp that provides access to I-80 eastbound."

Residents shared their concern about nighttime construction.

"There will be some overnight trips between the staging area and work sites after the end of the year, but they will be far fewer than what will occur in the first few months," he said. "The overnight work on I-80 involves the use of large pieces of equipment to crush, or rubblize, the existing roadway."

Regarding the requested erection of barriers, Greeley said that by the end of year, the contractor will be able to install barriers along I-80, behind which large pieces of equipment will be stored when not in use, and where construction crews will be able to park their personal vehicles.

He added that much of the noisiest work will take place away from residents who live near the staging area. 

Additionally, he said the department will try to add more signage and road striping to help keep drivers safe, along with restoring the Littleton Road shoulder.

"A significant part of the project involves demolishing an existing noise wall between I-80 eastbound and Littleton Road to make way for a new slip ramp that will provide a new access route from 202 northbound to I-80 eastbound, and then rebuilding the noise wall," Greeley explained. "This work is expected to occur during weekdays only and [will] last for approximately nine months.  Weekends and evenings would be needed for work hours only if the schedule slips due to weather or other factors. Once this new ramp from 202 northbound to I-80 east is opened, traffic will no longer roar along Littleton Road to the slip ramp that now serves these motorists.  

"This will be a benefit to the residents."

Purzycki offered a different view of the proceedings, which she called "interesting, to say the least."

"First [officials] wanted to know why so many residents showed up," she said. "They said we were supposed to bring 15 people. I said, no, the meeting was open to all residents but closed to the press."

And Purzycki complained about the project design, which she characterized as "a nightmare."

"They are only 100 feet apart," she said. "And one crosses over the other at the wrong point.  I wonder what engineer read that computer-generated plan. He should be terminated."

Another meeting open to the community is planned for Sept. 13.

d-dubbs August 23, 2012 at 12:42 PM
Officials wanted to know why so many residents showed up!? Are they serious!?! Thank you Ms Purzycki and all other residents who took the time to go and stand up for us. They better keep their word!
clyde donovan August 23, 2012 at 01:09 PM
Wait until you people hear the rock crusher when it's pulverizing the concrete at night. Get some ear plugs.
T-Bird 148 August 23, 2012 at 01:48 PM
I am left to wonder why a resident had to spearhead this effort instead of one of Parsippany's elected officials ...
T-Bird 148 August 23, 2012 at 01:50 PM
how about a guarantee from the state of the contractor that they will at least replant a tree for every one they cut down?
Angelina August 23, 2012 at 03:15 PM
I live on marcella/kingston road, and i attended the meeting. The contractors and TIm were uselss. They were rarely able to answer our concerns with a straight answer. They basically told us all too bad, deal with it. We're still waiting on the answer as to when we are getting our shoulder back!!! Needlesss to say, if you ask me, the meeting was useless because those people do not care at all about the residents of parsippany or our safety and quality of life! and their female counterpart was terrible rude and disrespectful... she should be terminated! Be sure to attend the meeting on sept 13 to voice your concerns!!
d-dubbs August 23, 2012 at 04:33 PM
They're BULLIES! Thats what they are! They think they're such big shots, trampling over us. Its our tax dollars that are going to them and we have to put up with this!
Bruce C August 24, 2012 at 12:29 AM
Swell: the state is going to tear down a noise wall that's maybe 20 years old and put up a new one. A pity that this wasn't anticipated when the original was built. But then the whole interchange (like the Spaghetti Bowl in Wayne) seems to have been designed by engineers who were on LSD. I've always loved the blind merge of Cherry Hill Road and southbound Route 202. My sympathies to the neighboring residents.
Angelina August 24, 2012 at 01:19 AM
They don't want anyone to speak up at the meeting on the 13th and are making threats... So I've heard. So eveyone should go and let them have it . Especially that blonde witch. She's as rotten as they come.. ull see..this town doesn't give a shit about us.
clyde donovan August 24, 2012 at 02:00 AM
Get down on the contractor. Find out the contractor's insurance company and report anything that could be a potential liability. Follow the workers to make sure theyre not drinking on their breaks in a local bar. Report bald tires, bad driving, dangerous construction practices, etc. The contractor doesn't want to lose their insurance. No insurance, no government work. Have the INS make sure everyone working on the project is legal to work in the United States.

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