Residents Voice Anger About Traffic Caused By Bayonne Bridge Construction

By Nicholas Rizzi on May 21, 2014 11:14am 

Slideshow
 Residents asked the Port Authority to help ease traffic caused by the construction project.
Bayonne Bridge Construction Town Hall Meeting
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PORT RICHMOND — Residents asked the Port Authority to ease the traffic nightmares around Port Richmond caused by the Bayonne Bridge construction project.

At a town hall meeting hosted by Councilwoman Debi Rose at Port Richmond High School Tuesday, residents got the chance to ask questions and get information about the $1.3 billion project that is raising the bridge's roadway.

"I know that for those living in the area, the construction work has not been welcome," Rose said. "Many complained about noise, dirt and other environmental issues.

"The purpose of this meeting was to answer the questions many of you had and felt were not sufficiently answered."

Since the construction started, residents said streets were narrowed, more vehicles use the roads, dust has caked homes and cars and their homes vibrate during work on the bridge.

"The traffic is horrendous," said a resident who would only give her first name Ellie. "And we're only six months into it so far."

To help residents, the Port Authority started programs to replace windows of homes in certain blocks near the bridge, offer temporary hotel stays for people and has an on-site and 24/7 phone line where residents can ask questions about the project.

"[Eaton Place is] probably a third of the width that it was," said Judith Tracey, who lives nearby on John Street. "It's inconvenient on garbage days and school bus days."

The agency said the street wouldn't be returned to normal until 2016. While Tracey said she felt like the Port Authority has been helpful during the construction project, other residents felt they have been passed over.

Marie Wausnock said that the section of John Street she lives on was completely skipped over for any easement programs the Port Authority has offered during construction and has complained since September about it.

Wausnock said that while neighbors across the street were offered window replacements as well as Port Richmond High School, which is behind her home, the row of houses on her side of the block weren't.

"Why are these 17 houses not included?" she said.

The Bayonne Bridge construction project, which is expected to finish in 2017, will raise the roadway of the 82-year-old bridge to let larger container ships pass underneath. Workers will also widen the lanes and shoulders of the roadway and create a 12-foot bicycle and pedestrian path, the Port Authority said.

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