News Department

Hunterdon County Commissioners: ‘Take Rockfall Plan Back to Drawing Board’

HUNTERDON COUNTY, NJ – The Hunterdon County Board of Commissioners requested that the New Jersey Department of Transportation pause its plans for $87 million in rockfall mitigation projects along Route 29 and I-78 in the County, in order to seek more public input in a resolution approved at the board’s April 20 meeting.

The rockfall mitigation projects are planned at Jugtown Mountain, along I-78 in Bethlehem Township, $34 million, on Route 29 in Kingwood Township, at the Devil’s Tea Table historic rock formation, $33 million, and a $20 million project along Route 29 in West Amwell and Lambertville.

Commissioner Zach Rich, the Board’s representative to the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA), said, “The NJTPA funds these projects and we are looking for the DOT and the NJTPA to take a step back and examine the issues associated with the massive mitigation project and consider not only their high cost, but also the concerns being raised by various individuals and groups.

The Warren County Board of Commissioners has raised similar concerns regarding the planned rockfall mitigation along I-80 and have also requested a re-evaluation of the project by NJDOT and NJTPA.”

Commissioner Matt Holt, who served on the NJTPA Board from 2008 until 2021, including terms as Chairman in 2012 and 2013, said, “The NJDOT needs to bring these rock mitigation projects back to the drawing board, look for alternate solutions; saving money and lessening the environmental impact as well. Let the local officials have a seat at the table.”

“I recall a similar project along Rt 29 just south of Lambertville. At that time there was a project to control water flow from the east side of the road, to the west side, which caused a safety hazard especially in the winter months. Then DOT Commissioner Steve Dilts and I discussed the projected high cost of that project and NJDOT went back and redesigned a successful solution at a fraction of the cost. This request is similar in nature,” Holt said.

The Commissioners noted residents and officials have raised concerns that range from possible impacts to local wells from any rock blasting that may occur, proposed detour plans, environmental degradation, and insufficient public input.

County Administrator Kevin P. Davis reported to the Board, “Concerns about the plans have been raised by members of the governing bodies in Kingwood, Bethlehem, and West Amwell, the Delaware River Greenway Partnership, a number of concerned residents, and the Devil’s Tea Table Alliance, which includes representatives on both sides of the Delaware River.”

The Board’s Resolution calls upon the NJDOT and NJTPA to pause the projects, examine alternatives, and to re-open public discussion. For a copy of the Hunterdon County Board of Commissioners’ Resolution, click here.

For more information on the rock fall projects visit www.lowerdelawarewildandscenic.org.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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