WARREN COUNTY, NJ – U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) has introduced an amendment to prohibit any federal funding from being used to build the proposed rockwall along Interstate 80 in Knowlton and Hardwick Townships in Warren County, NJ.
Gottheimer’s amendment has been introduced to the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Act.
Against the objections of many local officials and residents, the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) is currently planning to use federal funds to build an expensive and obtrusive sixty-foot-high wall in Warren County, directly abutting the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, Gottheimer said.
“I share the same goals of our local Warren County community: keeping roads safe for residents and tourists, supporting our local economy, and helping strengthen infrastructure and improve navigability. To me, federal investment should prioritize solutions that are cost-effective, and that would benefit safety and eco-tourism in the region,” Gottheimer said. “The local economy relies heavily on tourism to the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, which attracts visitors because of its unparalleled beauty and natural vistas. Building an obstructive and unsightly artificial wall will diminish the attractiveness of the area to tourists and wreak havoc on the economy. We need to focus on practical solutions, like the ones I’ve fought for and helped achieve — including lowering the speed limit on the S-curve and placing flashing warning signs for oncoming motorists.”
Gottheimer has worked closely with local residents, community groups, and elected officials — like Knowlton Mayor Adele Starrs, Hardwick Mayor Kevin Duffy, and Hardwick Deputy Mayor Alfred Carrazzone, and many others — to address issues with the proposed rockwall.
Gottheimer has previously worked with local elected officials and community groups to communicate with NJDOT the importance of more signs and lower speed limits along this stretch of I-80. Earlier this year, NJDOT installed fifteen new yellow arrow signs, new arrow signs on a previously-unmarked curve, and a new 50 MPH sign closer to the start of the curved stretch, Gottheimer said.