NJ Drivers Tired Of Dealing With Seemingly Endless Construction

WATCHUNG, N.J. (CBS 2) — Many New Jersey residents often find themselves wondering why construction projects take so long in the Garden State.

CBS 2’s Christine Sloan went to get some answers on why New Jersey drivers see construction everywhere.

At the corner of Bonnie Burn Road and Park Avenue in Watchung, drivers said a two-year state Department of Transportation widening project started in January.

“It doesn’t seem to end,” driver Manuela Onacko said. “Traffic is horrendous in the morning and afternoon.”

The congestion was so bad Wednesday that traffic looped around all the way to Route 22.

“I’ve been sitting here for 30 minutes, and it’s like this every day for the last two months,” driver Michael Toro said.

It was the same story on the westbound side of Route 3 in Secaucus, thanks to a project to replace an overpass. The bridge deck being rehabbed at South Summit Avenue over I-80 near Route 17 was also giving drivers headaches.

“The walk is horrible,” Paterson resident Patricia Farrar said. “I’d be scared; I don’t want to get hit by a car.”

The New Jersey Department of Transportation said that because the state is densely populated, they can’t just shut down roads. Instead, they work in phases, and that can take longer.

The project in Watchung has had several phases, including the demolition of a home. The DOT said they’re working as diligently as they can.

Despite delays, the DOT told CBS 2 that all of the projects are scheduled to be completed on time, which means taxpayers won’t have to foot the extra bill.

The benefits, the DOT said, was that when the work is done, there will be safer overpasses and more lanes near Bonnie Burn Road that will ease congestion.

The price tag for the Route 3 project was estimated to be over $17 million, and was expected to be completed toward the end of 2012.

More from Christine Sloan
  • Cribblyd

    I went thru this bonnie burn project twice on my way to the GSP. I have never seen such a slow crew working on this. I know it takes time with all the traffic but I have friends who told me there where times when the contractor did nothing for weeks. THat is what makes it take longer. You look at certain projects where the contractor devotes allot of resources to the job and it gets done in half the time. I think the problem is with the contractor.

  • Tom G

    How about the genius that thought it was a good idea to have three lane merge into one lane from Park ave onto the overpass.

    • b handley

      absolutely- they should go back to having only one left turn lane from Park Avenue and let the traffic back up all the way into fanwood, that is CLEARLY better than pulling trafficn off of Park Avenue and having people merge at 5 mph….. I’ll put in a good word and have it eliminated on friday

      • tom G

        The Traffic still backs up into Fanwood and down RT. 22. Now instead of it only happening during rush hour it happens all day long! All it does is create a log jam at the merge.

      • b handley

        thanks to Tom G- since I know for a certainty that DOT representatives read anything to do with press- they will probably respond by eliminating one of the left turn lanes, bputtin gup more barrels and letting fewer car off of Park Avenue. The good news is that the traffic from Rt. 22 will be going at a higher rate of speed into the merge area and the accidents will be hore frequent and higher intesity. Thanks to Tom for instituting these changes

    • Cribblyd

      You guys seem like you know this area well. Dont you agree the contractor is very slow at this jobsite…? I was told there where times he was MIA for weeks on end.

      • bhandley

        not exactly, but from outward appearances this conclusion is understandable
        the project was fraught with utility issues which caused dealys and made it difficult for the contractor to work in the area

  • SP Commuter

    I have been commuting through this bonnie burn road construction since it started. It is definitely frustrating but the traffic in that area was really bad before the construction started so I’m just waiting patiently hoping when this is all done it will actually be better.
    The only time I got crazy with this situation is 2 weeks ago around 8:15am they had a street sweeper crawling through the Scotch Plains/US 22 merge area causing the backup to be 100 times worse. It is understandable that we are going to be delayed because of the construction but what kind of miscommunications are going on when they send a street sweeper in the middle of rush hour?

  • b handley

    great reporting! mention the back up onto route 22 but don’t mention the backup was the reason the project was done in the first place

    as for ted’s comment about Union Labor- that is just plain ignorant and shows a complete lack of understanding of how road projects are constructed

  • ted

    thank union labor

  • mark

    Let’s all use the governors helicopter to get us around the traffic.

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