Senator Kip Bateman and Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli (both R-16) have called on Governor Chris Christie and the Department of Transportation to declare the replacement of the Route 518 bridge over the Delaware and Raritan Canal in Franklin an essential project to allow work to resume immediately.
The Department of Transportation was ordered to halt work in early July on the $2.75 million project and other transportation projects across New Jersey that were deemed non-essential, pending an agreement to refund the state’s Transportation Trust Fund.
“The Rt. 518 bridge over the Delaware and Raritan Canal is a critical transportation link that residents and emergency and shared services depend upon,” said Bateman. “It’s imperative for the safety and well-being of our community that work be resumed on this project immediately. Governor Christie should use his authority to declare this an ‘essential’ project allowing the bridge replacement to move forward.”
It’s imperative for safety & well-being of our community that work on Rt. 518 bridge replacement project resume https://t.co/IXWywHyKjn
— Senator Kip Bateman (@KipBateman) September 1, 2016
A recent NJ.com article highlighted the increasing chaos caused in the region by the bridge’s continued closure. There are few alternate crossings over the canal, leading to miles-long detours that have gridlocked area roads.
Tensions have risen and altercations have been reported at the single-lane Griggstown Causeway as motorists have jockeyed for a turn to cross the span that has been overwhelmed by traffic. The situation is expected to worsen as the school year begins and parents and school buses add to rush-hour traffic.
“While we all look forward to timely resolution of the Transportation Trust Fund issue, our community cannot be held hostage in the interim by Trenton’s inability to act responsibly,” added Ciattarelli. “With school starting shortly and the demands on our local roads set to increase, Governor Christie and the Department of Transportation need to recognize the critical nature of the Rt. 518 bridge project and allow work to move forward expeditiously.”
The project was initially scheduled to be completed in early August.