Lehigh Valley

Concrete barrier proposed near Delaware Water Gap causes concern

A project meant to prevent rockslides in the Delaware Water Gap is upsetting some local mayors.

NJDOT said they plan to build a 60-foot concrete barrier to keep rocks from falling onto the stretch of I-80 between Hardwick Township and Knowlton Township.

The mayors of both towns said they are concerned about the esthetic of the large barrier and the cost of the project that’s estimated to be between $55 to $58 million.

"Our feeling is if they are willing to spend $55 million on this then they need to include some road improvements in that as well,” said Mayor Adele Starrs of Knowlton Township.

Starrs said the stretch of I-80 where the barrier is located is winding and there are dozens of accidents each year that borough rescue squads respond to.

Mayor Duffy said the concrete barrier will also obstruct the view of the Delaware Water Gap which attracts millions of tourists each year.

"Realistically we know people come with a lot of negative perceptions of New Jersey. When people come through and see the Delaware Water Gap, they say ‘wow, this is really unexpected,’ Duffy said.

In a statement to 69 News, NJDOT said in part:

“Safety is the top priority for the New Jersey Department of Transportation. This less than half-mile stretch of I-80 is the most dangerous portion of an NJDOT maintained highway in terms of rock fall, based on the stability of the rock, the frequency of rock falls or mudslides, and the severity.”

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