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(TRENTON) - Assembly Transportation, Public Works and Independent Authorities Committee member Ruben J. Ramos, Jr., on Thursday raised concerns at a special hearing that Hudson County residents and officials have had little input on the state Department of Transportation's (DOT) plan to close the Pulaski Skyway for two years for significant repairs and overhauls.
Ramos (D-Hudson) issued the following statement:
"Repairing the Skyway is necessary; no one is debating that. However, the impact that a full closure will have on residents of Hudson County - from longer commutes to alternate routes snaking through residential communities - needs to be clearly articulated.
"We don't want to see back roads and quiet communities suddenly explode with diverted traffic. We don't want to see commuters having to add hours and miles to their travels to and from work. And we don't want to repair the Skyway only to have alternative routes suffer accelerated wear and tear.
"Local stakeholders need to be aware of, and consulted on, alternative routes, so that they can alert residents and, when necessary, raise their concerns to DOT and come up with viable secondary solutions.
"This needs to be done, but it needs to be done in a way that has the least detrimental impact on Hudson County residents."
First opened to vehicle traffic in 1932, the Pulaski Skyway is listed on the New Jersey and national registries of historic places. The 81-year old, 3.5-mile elevated roadway has 108 spans, including two 550-foot spans over the Hackensack and Passaic rivers and carries more than 67,000 cars daily.
NJ Assembly Majority Office
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"Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, a Hudson County Democrat, is balking. He claimed Tuesday that members of his caucus are divided over the measure and that his house is in no real rush – besides, even if enacted this year, the reforms would not take effect until 2017, he said. And with the growing belief that Christie could skip town to run for president, some Democrats are not eager to give him another talking point for his résumé. Christie’s plans to stump for Republican candidates in New Hampshire later Thursday only fuel that suspicion." - columnist Charles Stile- The Bergen Record
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