Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Drivers Curse the Darkness

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Drivers Curse the Darkness

Article excerpt

Be thankful for moonlight. Street lamps on Routes 21, 4 and 17 have been dimmer than the brains that pushed the economy into recession.

"There must be 50 to 60 lights out from Lodi to Allendale," said Route 17 commuter Ravi Singh.

Even more. We stopped counting at 75. But darkness is intermittent. Much of Lodi might be as dark as London during the Blitz, especially approaching Hackensack near Route 80. Much of Paramus resembles the bright tinsel on Manhattan's Broadway, but not near Paramus Park mall. It's the same farther north: Light. Dark. Light. Dark.

Confusing, said Harold Knutsen. "If lights aren't needed," asked Harold, whose business is on Franklin Turnpike in Ramsey, "why was so much money spent on installation?"

A spokesman for the state Department of Transportation insisted that the economics of highway lamp replacement don't operate the same way they do for you and me when a bathroom bulb pops unexpectedly while we're shaving. To maximize efficiency, "we schedule the work with major resurfacing," said DOT's Tim Greeley.

That excuse might have shed light on Route 440 in Bayonne, or 1&9 in Newark. But DOT isn't repaving 17 anytime soon.

On the other hand, Route 21 is in the middle of a makeover near Route 3, but that construc

tion job didn't improve Lenny Pollara's recent trip there as he squinted his way through Clifton, Lyndhurst and Nutley.

"I couldn't see much," said the Paterson reader.

No kidding. Lighting tends to be minimal at construction sites unless crews are working nights under illumination powerful enough to light Yankee Stadium. But speed limits haven't been reduced through this stretch.

Despite recent austerity measures, Greeley insisted that DOT "crews respond to reports of outages as soon as possible." He suggested that motorists visit DOT's website (nj.gov/ transportation) to report outages. …

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