NJ DOT prepared for Irene cleanup
The New Jersey Department of Transportation has prepared for a coordinated, multi-agency cleanup operation of state roads starting immediately after Hurricane Irene moves through.
The Department has anticipated extensive damage from high winds and heavy rain, including downed utility poles and power outages, downed trees and flooded roads.
Prior to the storm arriving in New Jersey, NJDOT in coordination with the New Jersey State Police Office of Emergency Management, successfully managed an orderly evacuation of approximately one million residents and visitors from vulnerable Jersey Shore locations.
“Under the leadership of Governor Chris Christie, NJDOT and the State Police have evacuated a million people from harm’s way prior to the arrival of the storm and successfully executed a contra-flow procedure on several highways to maximize roadway capacity for motorists leaving shore areas,” Commissioner James Simpson said.
The Governor repeatedly urged residents and visitors to take the storm seriously, which helped achieve a 90 percent evacuation rate in mandatory evacuation areas in Cape May, Atlantic, Ocean and Monmouth counties.
Residents are urged to avoid travel during periods of high winds and to stay informed of road conditions by monitoring broadcast reports and by visiting www.511nj.org. NJDOT’s Safety Service Patrol personnel and vehicles will be recalled when sustained winds exceed 39 MPH. Motorists should not expect road side assistance during these conditions and should remain in their vehicles until conditions improve.
Once the storm passes through, crews from NJDOT, the Department of Environmental Protection and the Board of Public Utilities will fan out across the state in a coordinated manner to address storm-related damage.
In the days leading up to the storm, NJDOT readied maintenance and operations personnel for a full mobilization, and checked all vehicles and equipment that will be needed to remove trees and debris from roadways and clear debris from storm-water inlets.
Other preparations included:
• All fuel tanks in maintenance yards used for refueling vehicles were topped off.
• An inventory of emergency roadway signs was made and additional signs were fabricated as needed.
• Staff members were notified to be prepared to work through this event.
• Roadway maintenance crews shifted their focus to cleaning storm-water basins to ensure they work as intended.
• Emergency bridge contractors were notified and put on alert in the event of damage to bridges.
• Construction sites were secured to prevent debris being carried by high winds.
• Plans are in place to inspect bridges after the storm in areas that sustained high winds or other storm-related stresses.