🌄 FHWA - STUDY THE NJDOT 5 YEAR - $60+M ROCKFALL PLAN - IT PUTS THE PUBLIC AT RISK.🚧
Load our letter by clicking the RED BOX "Start Writing".
No time or interest to read the history and facts below - no problem, simply sign our letter, OR add comments to our letter, OR delete our content and send your own. Our optional content is designed to both explain some of the issues our region has with this project and give FHWA some reasons we are asking for the EIS/Study. Your letter will automatically be sent to your State and Federal Legislators.
The project is so widely opposed by residents, municipalities, and legislators in both PA and NJ, that Congressman Josh Gottheimer has induced an amendment to have funds removed in the FY2021 Federal Budget.
Most up to date information? Visit our Facebook Page - I80DWGCoalition
See the False & Misleading Evidence:
View the I-80 S-Curve project area: MAP - Expect all sign of natural rock formation to be replaced with a wall - 5-10' high, in front of a industrial fence - 10-20' high, in front of a dug ditch - 15-30' deep, and a 60' tall berm to replace much of the east side rock boulder talus slop. The fence will also travel up the west side of the lower ridge and across the top of that lower ridge of Mount Tammany.
Since 2017, over 16 times, the public has requested a sit-down meeting with the NJDOT, they have not obliged. Our NJ and PA elected representatives have been doing their part for us. They now need our concerns on record.
👉Please consider adding a personal note to our letter. As per FHWA "simply objecting…. does not necessitate the preparation of an EIS" - we must convince, by including legit real life experiences, sadness anger, fears and disappointment for not having a chance to ask NJDOT, on record, our questions.
Here is the letter we have loaded for you to sign, add comment to, or delete and replace:
📝I am writing to request the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) immediately require NJDOT to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the risky and controversial 4.5+ year - $58 million NJDOT I80 Rockfall Mitigation Project and ask my elected representatives to take every action possible to support this request.
I am not contesting rockfall mitigation may be required. I am contesting that the proposed plans are rational, effective, or considerate of the harms that will result to our local citizens and environment. We have already been harmed. Of the current Plan Alternatives, I therefore feel “NO-BUILD” is the only option.
In fact, one major question is why and when the first recommended 2011 plan changed. FHWA approved the NJDOT 2011 Concept Development rockfall mitigation plan for Preliminary Engineering. This plan was recommended and scoped by their own experts - 9 months, $5 Million, no large-scale rock removal. That plan mysteriously exploded into today's plan - 5 years, $58 Million - and the regional community was never involved in the process.
Only an EIS that studies the Rockfall Mitigation Plan, fully evaluates ALL alternatives, AND incorporates solutions to the well documented design, maintenance neglect, drainage, and congestion deficiencies in the S-Curve will restore public trust.
(Additional details and support evidence was previously included in the I80DWG Coalition EIS request submitted July 22, 2020.)
👎THE REGIONAL COMMUNITY HAS ALREADY BEEN SIGNIFICANTLY IMPACTED (as shown in the I80DWG Coalition EIS request). TO CONTINUE THIS PRJECT WITHOUT A STUDY WILL ONLY FACILITATE MORE HARM.
- Since 2013, the NJDOT Rockfall Mitigation Team has NOT answered the questions Knowlton Township and the region have been asking regarding the development and impact possibilities of construction. NJDOT has NOT included the project area's citizens and municipalities in project development.
- Since 2017, over 16 requests for a PUBLIC HEARING, charrette, or on-record meeting with a Q&A have been denied or ignored.
- Knowlton area residents showed up for the only two NJDOT public project presentations - 2017 & 2019 and submitted comments as requested. No PA resident or municipality was notified of these meetings, thus denied due process.
- To date, we see no evidence the NJDOT is using our input for anything other than to satisfy the legal requirements of NEPA and to identify potential project obstacles. Evidence of this can be seen in the Rockfall Public Involvement Action Plan, which was first made public in July 2020.
- This neglect pushes against both the letter and spirit of the National Environmental Protection Act of 1969 (NEPA) and the NJDOT’s own Public Involvement Action Plan.
I OPPOSE THE CURRENT RISKY AND CONTROVERSIAL 4.5+ YEAR - $58 MILLION I80 ROCKFALL PLAN TO: (See the project area here)
- Blast, scrape and dig 30-60 feet into the precious base of Mount Tammany on the NJ side of the Delaware Water Gap
- Erect a huge industrial fence, wall, berm contraption along a half mile section in the S-Curve on Interstate 80
- It will destroy the natural unique geological features and permanently mar the precious, iconic, environmentally sensitive, historically significant Gateway to the Poconos
- When complete, it will have done NOTHING to fix the actual dangers of the S-Curve
I SUPPORT THE I80DWG COALITION'S REQUEST FOR THE FEDERAL HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATION TO IMMEDIATELY REQUIRE AN ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT as per 23 CFR §771.119 and 40 CFR § 1506.6. Public trust has been undermined and my community has every reason to be concerned for our safety, lifestyle and economy. (Click the link above for the I80DWGCoalition EIS Request packet)
- This is especially true since the July 2020 NJDOT Bi-state Summit, updated project website and FAQ continue to produce false and misleading statements.
- 👎The NJDOT has denied multiple requests for a full traffic and economic impact study.
- They claim no traffic impacts will happen - yet the I80DWG Coalition construction expert produced an AutoCAD showing the NJDOT plan to narrow lanes and remove shoulders DOES NOT allow for two trucks side by side to travel safely through the work zone.
- NJDOT confirms this, claiming their solution is to keep trucks and cars in separate lanes with signage. The accident rate in this S-Curve is known to be twice the state average due to drainage issues, design flaws (too sharp, too narrow, no shoulders), and seven design deficient exit and entrance ramps within ¼ mile in the S-Curve.
- With NO suitable long-term detour route, to proceed without an independent study is irresponsible.
- Adding to this controversy - How and why did NJDOT stop Knowlton Township's application for the NJDOT sponsored Delaware Water Gap Scenic Byway ready for submittal in 2015.
NJDOT HAS YET TO JUSTIFY THE PROJECT NEED WHILE THEY HAVE LONG IGNORED KNOWN SAFETY ISSUES:
- OPRA requests for documents used to establish the number of claimed rockfall events – DENIED👎
- OPRA requests for “rock studies” cited as justification for the change in project scope, length, and cost explosion - DENIED.👎 (2011: 5 months/$6 Million VS 2019: 4.5 Years/$60+ Million)
- The NJDOT has neglected the safety and mobility of the traveling public by ignoring well documented drainage, signage, maintenance, and design deficiencies in this section.
- 633 accidents NOT related to rockfall occurred during the same time as the claimed (not proven) 14 rock related accidents.
- 367 of the 633 accidents noted wet roadway conditions. Their own 2011 study reported cracked, clogged, and crushed drainage in every section.
- Knowlton, Hardwick and the Warren County Freeholders have asked the NJDOT to study fixes to ALL the S-Curve safety, mobility and congestion issues.
WE HAVE EVIDENCE THE NJDOT HAS NOT PROVIDED CONSISTENT AND ACCURATE INFORMATION TO stakeholders, cooperating agencies and the North Jersey Transportation Authority responsible for funding approval and contributing opinions regarding the likelihood or lack of significant impact to:
- 🦅 Endangered wildlife such as Peregrine Falcons, Bald Eagles, Timber Rattlesnake - How will spraying chemical defoliation, and the vibration and noise from blasting 2x per week for 4 months and drilling hundreds of foundation holes for fence supports affect these protected animals?
- 🏞 The viewshed of seven National Heritage and Registered and Eligible Scenic Properties which include the Middle Delaware National Scenic and Recreational River, National Appalachian Trail, 911 National Memorial Trail/Liberty Gap Extension, PA Delaware River Scenic Byway, and more.
- We see no evidence the required Scenic Resources Visual Impact Assessment is underway or has been considered.
- 🏞 Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and New Jersey Worthington State Forest by which the project area is bordered.
- The attempt by NJDOT to push this project through without an Environmental Assessment shows a level of environmental disregard that is outrageous and has contributed to our lack of trust.
It is time for outside intervention, for the NJDOT to answer our questions, produce requested documents, conduct a regional traffic and economic impact study, and examine ALL mitigation alternatives by way of an Environmental Impact Statement.
Thank you for helping us find the best possible outcome.
Make the most of your day!
Tara Mezzanotte / Founding Member I80DWG Coalition 908-656-4603 I80DWGCoalition@gmail.com