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I-80 Rehab Project Angers Littleton Road Area Residents

Citing safety concerns, citizen activists are calling on residents to raise their voices to have the NJDOT construction staging site closed.

Residents near Parsippany's Route 202 are expressing anger over the New Jersey Department of Transportation's $73 million major Interstate 80 roadway rehabilitation project.

Specifically, the citizens are upset that DOT officials hired Union Paving Construction Co. of Mountainside to clear trees from an area at the juncture of Littleton and Marcella roads for the purpose of creating a staging site for the rehab effort.

"The area is a heavy traveled corridor now," said an outraged Mary Purzycki, who lives nearby. "It will be impossible for area residents or any driver to travel this corridor safely once the staging area is operational."

Purzycki said her initial concern was about sound levels, as the trees cleared served as a buffer to absorb sound from Interstates 80 and 287. But she said there was another, more important consideration.

"No thought was given to the safety of Parsippany residents when this site was picked," she charged. "  is two blocks away. Our local streets are walked by children and most residents of all ages."

Purzycki is calling on residents to contact Mayor James Barberio and Asw. BettyLou DeCroce and "tell them to close this site and choose a site away from the residential area."

DOT spokesperson Timothy Greeley said the staging site is a necessary component of the project, which will rehabilitate four miles of I-80 and
make improvements to its interchanges with I-287 and Route 202.

"Prior to the start of any roadway construction project it is necessary
for a contractor to procure a suitable location to set up the
construction field office and staging area to mobilize its resources," he said."This area is located within state-owned right-of-way and within the construction limits of the upcoming project."

Greeley said the contractor obtained a DOT highway occupancy permit to use
the right-of-way. Additionally, he noted that a public meeting was held in October 2011 to allow residents to share their concerns.

The DOT spokesperson explained that trees and other vegetation had to be removed by the contractor to prepare the ground for staging, adding that no additional greenery will be removed. 

In answer to the residents' complaint regarding the tree clearing, he said that the occupancy permit mandates that the contractor restore the area to the original condition before finishing the job.

"This includes planting trees to replace those that were removed," Greeley said.

He added that residens' concerns about noise were considered as well.

"Green mesh fencing will be installed around the area to provide protection against noise, dust and other impacts," he said. "The contractor has installed heavy-duty silt fencing around the perimeter of the staging area for erosion control."

Resident safety is a matter that the DOT is still addressing, according to Greeley.

"During the course of our coordination with the , they have expressed similar safety concerns," he said. "We are looking into any temporary measures, including increased or new signage to be installed, to provide adequate safety for all motorists in that area."

Greeley also said that despite the difficulties involved, the project will be good for the state and area motorists. And he said another public meeting to allow residents to speak in regard to the project will be held in September.

"The project will benefit tens of thousands of New Jersey residents every day and exemplifies NJDOT’s commitment to safety and state-of-good-repair
investments," he said.

clyde donovan August 09, 2012 at 05:04 PM
This shouldn't happen in the future because it is likely that Lake Parsippany and Rainbow Lakes will become national and state register historic districts. This will give these two areas an additional layer of protection because all government projects in a registered district will have to be reviewed and approved by the Department of Environmental Protection Historic Sites Council.
VietNam Vet August 10, 2012 at 04:44 AM
All this bull that this guy is spewing is crap, look at other areas like Rt 80 on the eastbound side in Denville, they worked up there a number of years ago and they still have a mound of dirt they never removed and the weeds are growing now. They do this in all the areas they work in.
Hank Heller August 10, 2012 at 02:31 PM
Littleton Rd. is just the most wrong place to put a staging area. It is slow moving and time consuming to use Littleton now, can you imagine what it will be like to travel on Littleton when you are constantly sharing the road with heavy equipment moving back and forth from the work site. Aditionally, the residents in that area do not need more broken streets and torn up neighborhoods just to accomodate a construction company. The construction job will eventually end but the torn up land will take 25 years or more to heal. A better site needs to be found, even if it is slightly less convenient for the construction company.

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