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Town Officials, NJDOT to Discuss I-80 Rehab Controversy

At council meeting, Littleton Road area residents supplied town leaders with questions and research to present to DOT.

Mayor James Barberio and representatives of township departments are slated to meet behind closed doors with New Jersey Department of Transportation officials Wednesday to clear the air over the already underway . The announcement was made at the Tuesday Township Council meeting at Town Hall.

A group of to the mayor, who said he would present them on Wednesday.

Barberio praised for her efforts to stand up for her neighbors and the safety of the Littleton Road corridor.

"I will definitely take your questions to the meeting," he told her. "Mary, you're all right!"

Purzycki launched a citizen effort against the DOT's $73 million dollar project after a contractor razed a collection of old-growth trees from an area on Littleton Road between Kingston and Marcella roads on Aug. 1. The area is being used as a staging site for the state highway rehab plan, which is expected to take more than two years to complete.

At a Monday meeting of residents at Purzycki's home, the aggrieved  citizens organized their thoughts and shared their complaints with one another. Armed with their camaraderie, their apparent outrage and Purzycki's research, the residents showed upat the council meeting en masse. Many stood to share their views.

First was Purzycki, who outlined a series of requests.

"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 said the community needs protection from construction sounds, since the trees cut down provided the neighborhood buffering from I-80 traffic.

"This is a day and night, six days a week operation," she told the council.

"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."

A waiver request is already before the council and is expected to be deliberated during the body's Aug. 21 meeting.

Many of Purzycki's neighbors shared their worries with the council: the proximity of homes and Lake Parsippany School to the staging site, the already treacherous driving conditions around the Littleton Road corridor that they say will be worsened because of the construction, the plight of children who walk to and from school and the potential environmental consequences for Lake Parsippany itself, due to the removal of road shoulders and the possibility of runoff from the dirt-covered staging site.

Dan O'Connor, president of the Lake Parsippany Property Owners Association, said that the project could mean serious problems for the lake.

Purzycki and Mayor Barberio both raised the issue that Parsippany officials were not invited to a pre-construction meeting the DOT held last month. 

"The DOT said someone in the office was supposed to invite us, but was on vacation," the mayor said. "That's unacceptable."

The transportation department turned down Purzycki's request to have a resident present at the Wednesday meeting. Barberio said he would try to have O'Connor allowed into the confab.

The mayor tried to assure residents that he shared their concerns and their dismay over the way in which NJDOT handled the pre-construction meeting snafu. He said he would raise the issues studied by Purzycki and her neighbors with the DOT.

Bob Crawford August 15, 2012 at 01:02 PM
Let me see if I understand. The DOT weeks ago began a major rehabilitation project on Route 80 in Parsippany that has already created serious traffic, safety and noise issues and the Mayor stood by until concerned residents led by Mary Purzycki raised the issue, did the research and demanded action. And now according to the Mayor it's the DOT's fault because someone on the DOT staff failed to invite the Mayor to a pre-construction meeting at which the Mayor could have presented and protected Parsippany residents' best interests. Even if he wasn't invited to the pre-construction meeting why wasn't the Mayor on the phone to the DOT asking for explanations the day the first construction vehicle showed up? . Why wasn't the Mayor on the phone demanding that police be provided to direct traffic as lanes were suddenly switched and road shoulders disappeared. Why is the Mayor only today meeting with the DOT and why has he agreed to meet in closed session? And why is Parsippany's Mayor once again in a reactive and defensive mode rather in a proactive and leadership mode. Why....?
Beth Bluj August 15, 2012 at 01:24 PM
This should include Crestview Drive/Wingate Road as some trucks were parked in our area as well.
Carol M. August 15, 2012 at 05:53 PM
Since it's obvious that you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about (yet again) Mr Crawford could you please, just for once, keep your nasty, nasty, ridiculous, self serving comments away from those who are trying to do some good around here. You're constant nagging does nothing to help...ever!
clyde donovan August 16, 2012 at 12:32 AM
Lake Parsippany needs to be turned into state and national historic districts to protect the area from progress.

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