Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

No Escaping the Obstacle Course of Repair Work

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

No Escaping the Obstacle Course of Repair Work

Article excerpt

Going from Teaneck to Teterboro on local roads should take drivers like Debra Schooley only 15 minutes or so, but not when they encounter a perfect storm of traffic obstacles.

"Nearly an hour," complained Schooley, who was barely able to conceal her anger over multiple traffic jams that made her passenger, her daughter, late for school on Tuesday. "My GPS had me driving in circles."

As Mom quickly learned, global positioning systems don't help much when your car is buffeted by traffic on all sides.

"I'd say Tuesday was one of our worst days," said Little Ferry police Lt. Scott Kral.

Work crews were laying pipe on River Street in Hackensack. A second crew was rebuilding Route 46 through the old Little Ferry circle at Bergen Turnpike. Then in South Hackensack, still more workers were repaving Huyler Street. And things didn't get much better as Schooley neared the Teterboro stretch of Huyler where traffic was still being diverted following a fiery crash on Monday that toppled utility poles.

Even though a major source of the state Department of Transportation's road funding -- its Transportation Trust Fund -- is virtually broke, North Jersey's aging infrastructure is still being revamped. That means there's still some bond-financed money for paving roads like the Palisades Interstate Parkway and Huyler Street. But not every piece of infrastructure relies on the DOT for funding. Decaying underground gas and electric lines are also being expanded and replaced. The Public Service Electric and Gas Co. is spending more than $2 billion on two projects that require ripping up streets throughout dozens of towns in Bergen and Passaic counties. Part of this massive undertaking requires replacing overhead power lines damaged by storms.

"Without question, the work we're doing now is the most extensive in our history," said PSE&G spokeswoman Karen Johnson.

From a traffic perspective, it's also the most disruptive.

Motorists who want to avoid these locations, such as East Atlantic and River streets in Hackensack, where work is scheduled today, would be wise to check the utility's website -- pseg. …

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