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Galloway Residents, Officials Leave Garden State Parkway Hearing Frustrated

Questions were asked, but answers will come in a report issued after Feb. 4, 2013.

For the second time since August, the New Jersey Turnpike Authority held a public event at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey to discuss two of the Garden State Parkway interchange projects in Galloway Township, and for the second time in six months, those with questions left the meeting frustrated.

The Turnpike Authority hosted a public information session followed by a public hearing at the Campus Center Theater on Tuesday night, Dec. 4. Officials gave a power point presentation on the project before taking comments from local officials and residents.

All comments were recorded, with responses to this and other questions to be issued in a report at a later date. No responses were given to comments and questions asked Tuesday night, and no questions concerning interchange 40 by Route 30 were answered.

Councilman Brian Tyrell spoke about a meeting local officials had with Turnpike Authority representatives in which a widening project for the overpass on Route 30 near the Ram's Head Inn was discussed.

“I hope that when that widening takes place, it’s done with the idea in mind that a full interchange is a possibility,” Tyrrell said during the public comment portion.

Project Engineer/Senior Highway Engineer Donald Chappa responded by saying Interchange 40 was not going to be discussed, and that a meeting would be held at a later date to discuss that project.

“The manner in which they held the public portion didn’t provide for dialogue,” Tyrrell said following the hearing.

“I’m disappointed in the format,” Councilman Jim McElwee said following the hearing. “I came here expecting the public to have their questions answered. There was no dialogue between the Turnpike Authority and the residents. They had an adversarial tone, and it would benefit them to reach out to the public and listen to their concerns rather than dictate to them what they’re going to do with their projects. Forty does affect the other two projects.”

McElwee’s comments about an adversarial tone echoed those of Galloway Democratic Chair Michael Suleiman.

“In two meetings, there’s been an adversarial tone,” Suleiman told the Turnpike Authority. “Councilmen Jim Gorman and Brian Tyrrell had their comments shot down. The conduct is not becoming of the fine people at the Turnpike Authority.”

Gorman asked about how residents would be impacted by sound levels relating to the interchanges, and Turnpike Authority officials reiterated that all responses would come in a later report.

“I wish in the future, you would come down and speak to officials early in the process, and not just talk to us about it in the past tense,” Gorman said. “That would make things move along a lot nicer.”

He also commented that he wished Interchange 40 was part of the discussion. Resident Michael Greb called the lack of inclusion of Interchange 40 “irresponsible.”

“The traffic needs to be taken into account,” Greb said during the public comment portion.

He added that Route 30 in the area of exit 40 has the same movements as Pomona Road in the area of exit 44.

“Forty is the obvious one,” resident Richard Goldberg said. “Route 30 goes east to Atlantic City and west to the rest of the county.”

Earl Jensen and Remy Jensen, owners of the Country Motel on Route 30, questioned the economic impact on businesses along Route 30 if there were to be an Interchange at exit 40.

The Turnpike Authority will be conducting a feasibility study concerning Interchange 40 next summer, after construction on the 41 and 44 interchanges has already begun. Officials have said the cost for the 40 interchange may be far greater than 41 and 44, and that they are not equivalent projects.

Suleiman asked the Turnpike Authority to delay construction on Interchange 41 until the feasibility study is complete.

He believes the Turnpike Authority is “fixing a problem that doesn’t exist,” and that shutting down the access road to non-emergency vehicles could be a mistake.

“The quickest way to get to AtlantiCare is down Jimmie Leeds Road,” Suleiman said. “If the access road is closed, people might not know another way to get to the hospital. You’re adversely affecting residents from a public safety aspect.”

Turnpike Authority officials also stated that a monetary donation would be made the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to compensate for 8.72 acres of trees that will be taken down as part of the interchanges projects.

“If you’re going to donate to DEP, you should include that project (two years ago),” McElwee said.

“The Galloway code is much stricter than the state code when it comes to cutting down trees,” Greb said. “It would be a nice gesture to voluntarily hold yourselves to the township standard.”

In August, the Turnpike Authority held an information session at Stockton College that left residents with questions and concerns dissatisfied.

Tuesday’s public hearing saw very few residents turn out, with the crowd mostly packed with public officials, including Deputy Mayor Tony Coppola, Gorman, McElwee, Tyrrell and Whitney Ullman from Galloway Councl; Sen. Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf; Atlantic County Republican Chairman Keith Davis; and Atlantic County Freeholder Rich Dase.

It’s the last hearing the Turnpike Authority will hold on the subject.

The record remains open for 60 days. Any additional comments and questions can be sent to the Turnpike Authority at the following address:

New Jersey Turnpike Authority, Engineering Department

P.O. Box 5042

Woodbridge, NJ 07095-5042

Attn: Donald Chappa, P.E., Project Engineer/Senior Highway Engineer

All comments will be included in the Final Hearing Report, which will be issued to Galloway Township and Atlantic County after Feb. 4, 2013, according to the Turnpike Authority.

Coppola and Dase both felt they were good projects that would benefit the area, and that the concerns of the residents would be taken into account.

“I hope you take into consideration what you hear and adapt design plans to accommodate that,” Coppola said. “I hope this is not just a rubber stamp meeting.”

“The residents are busy, but they care, and I hope this was not a waste of their time,” Atlantic County Freeholder Rich Dase said.

Red December 05, 2012 at 03:32 AM
Once again the people from the Turnpike Authority want to do a project no one wants -- the interchange with Jimmie Leeds and won't do the project that everyone wants on Rt. 30 which would help the economic development along that road and makes the most sense. These are the same people who brought us an unneeded "security fence" and a disastrous tree slashing along the GSP -- both of which added together cost us taxpayers millions of dollars. These people answer to no one -- and therefore -- they could care less what we think. Ultimately they will do what they've planned to do: build the 41 and 44 interchanges -- this was a dog and pony show. I'm sure that they were really irked that they had to come down here and spend time in the boonies when they would rather have been in north Jersey -- you know -- the part of NJ that they care about. It's insulting that they have a public meeting and then refuse to answer questions or even discuss the Rt. 30 situation.
Kevin Dermanoski December 05, 2012 at 04:28 AM
To the Editor for Print: WHY DID GALLOWAY MAYOR AND GALLOWAY MANAGER REPORT IN AC PRESS --- THAT COMMERCIAL "RATABLES" WERE APPROVED TO BUILD NEAR FULL RT 30 INTERCHANGE --- BY END OF 2013 ??? The Turnpike Authority said in Public Hearing Tonight, that a "Feasible Study" to Learn Traffic Effects of the Rt 30 Exchange will be conducted. The results will be announced in Feb 2013. Why will the Residents & Township Council Not Know The Design of the Rt 30 Exchange till Feb 2013. Given the unknowns of the future Proposed Interchange will not be known until Feb 13 of 2013, Why Did Galloway Mayor and Manager, be Pictured in the AC Press recently, that Commercial Developments near the Exchange Were Already Approved?? At the Public Hearing Tonight, Why did the Deputy Galloway Mayor, and Newly Elected Democrat Councilman agree, that the Turnpike Authority was not being fare, to withold this information until Feb 2013? Is there a Disconect Between the Galloway Mayor & Manager, with the Republican Deputy Mayor And Democrat Councilman??? What is the Truth? Are Commercial Developments near Parkway & Rt 30 Interchange already approved?? Why was this reported in the AC Press and Galloway Patch?? Is there a differance in Knowledge and Opinion on the Galloway Council?? Sincerely, for the Benefit of Galloway Residents, Kevin Dermanoski 361 S Leipzig Ave Germania Section, Gallway Township Egg Harbor City, 08215 SUBMITTED WITH RESPECT.
Keep Galloway Green December 05, 2012 at 04:52 AM
Yes cut down a zillion more trees & pay the DEP....makes sense to me. I guess the DEP owns those trees. Galloway should oppose any tree cutting by Turnpike Authority...didn't Galloway learn anything the last time trees were cut down on Parkway?....Just another ill concieved idea.
Kevin Dermanoski December 05, 2012 at 06:51 AM
I made mistakes in timeline. Many that I subnitted as 2013 should have been 2014. Please parden my mistakes in timeline. I had "dangling participles" Kevin Dermanoski
Michael Guenther December 05, 2012 at 04:13 PM
It does sound like it was a dog and pony show. At least the possibilty of a full interchange on WHP is still open. I think you will eventually get it, they've started the project to make Rt 70 in Brick a full interchange, but with the reservoir and train tracks so close to the highway it might be too tight of a fit without using eminent domain or cutting down lots of trees for the ramps.
Hookiss December 07, 2012 at 07:11 AM
Why do you think they are classified as an "Authority"? Simply put, they are a bunch of political hacks from North Jersey who couldn't care less about Galloway. Their collective opinion is......"just shut up and pay your tolls". South Jersey is a small annoyance to them that doesn't have enough political influence (read...votes) to make a difference in statewide politics. I remember when they wanted to put toll booths at or near the AC Rest Stop...the hearing was at Seaview years ago. They had NJSP at the entrance staring members of the public down...as much to say...."how dare you show up?" Until it was discovered they already had temporary tolls booths at the maintenance area off Ash Ave, that deal was a go....they got embarrassed by that one....and went away. Now they're back. Their strategy is to frustrate and avoid the public (why do you think they schedule a hearing in Dec. when most are distracted by holiday planning?).....They've been doing it since time began.....and the public never catches on....so just be quiet and pay your tolls.......

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