ALPINE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The nightmare for drivers on the pothole-ravaged Palisades Interstate Parkway should soon be over.
As CBS 2’s Steve Langford reported, New Jersey Transportation Commissioner James Simpson is vowing to fast-track a project to repave the New Jersey portion of the highway. He is targeting to have the work completed by the end of the summer.
Residents have been complaining about the large number of potholes on the parkway that have popped up following a barrage of winter storms. One stretch of the roadway is so bad it totaled a woman’s car. Another woman told WCBS 880 that she blamed the potholes for a car crash that landed her in the hospital.
Last week, CBS 2 confronted Simpson, who then took a ride on the Palisades before admitting the roadway is an embarrassment and promised to have it repaved. Officials had earlier said there was no room in the budget to fix the road.
“It was worse than some Third World countries that I’ve been to that I shall not name,” Simpson told CBS 2 on Saturday. “I could not believe that there was a highway in New Jersey that was as bad as it was.”
Simpson was given a tour of the crater-filled highway by James Hall, executive direction of the Palisades Interstate Park Commission, which maintains the parkway. On Monday, Hall credited Simpson for coming to see the road for himself.
“We took a ride on it,” Hall told Langford. “He saw first-hand the conditions that exist there. … He clearly saw that the road was in bad shape and was really in desperate need of repair.”
The Jersey stretch of the highway was last paved 18 years ago. Some experts say 15 years is the limit for such roads.
Drivers along the Palisades said they would like to see the work done well before the end of the summer.
“That would be great,” one man told Langford. “It would be better if it happened faster.”
“Should be sooner than that,” another driver said.
“Actually, it should be done before spring comes,” another motorist said.
Simpson explained that the work has to be designed, put to bid and executed, which takes time.
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