NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — People living near the Bayonne Bridge say they have had it with the construction project that has been raining debris on them.
As CBS2’s Tracee Carrasco reported, Vaughn Bellocchio has been running the Polishing Pad auto body shop at Newark Avenue and Richmond Terrace in Port Richmond, Staten Island – under the Bayonne Bridge – for the last 25 years.
He said construction to raise the bridge has been downright dangerous.
“This is something that flew off the bridge,” Bellocchio said as he held up what appeared to be a metal tool. “We don’t know what it is — some type of pipe bender or something. This flew off the new light posts that are on the bridge.”
Bellocchio said in addition to the heavy debris, cellphone video shows concrete raining down on his parking lot full of cars.
“Pipes, and pans, and rocks, and cement, and grout, and adhesive, and glue — and it’s just every day is something new,” he said.
Ronald Puzo, who lives down on the next block, still has pieces of wood that fell down on him and his neighbors, damaging their cars and homes.
“When this wood flew off everybody ran, because it was just flying down,” Puzo said.
People on the New Jersey side of the bridge also dealing with the same issues.
In Bayonne, Joan Crawford has lived under the bridge for decades and said her Cadillac is ow covered in concrete — with a big crack in the windshield from an unknown object that fell off the bridge.
“They’ll give me $300,” Crawford said. “It’s going to cost $600 to fix it, and they won’t budge.”
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey told CBS2 its safety plan includes “requirements to tether tools and materials at the construction site, to conduct routine safety checks in advance of high winds, and remove or secure items that are present, and to use tarps and/or netting when certain types of work are performed.”
“They’re not doing a great job as far as I’m concerned,” Puzo said.
People on both sides of the bridge fear it is only a matter of time before someone gets hurt.
The Port Authority has invested more than $10 million in community assistance programs for residents and property owners near the project. However, the people who spoke to CBS2 said it has been difficult getting the Port Authority to pay for the damage.