Expansion seems endless

| 15 Feb 2012 | 10:43

    Residents and officials fed up with delays BYRAM — Costs have exceeded the $40 million mark on the state-funded expansion of Route 206 through the 1.32 mile pass from Acorn Street to just north of Lackawanna Drive in Byram. The project is expected to take at least a year longer than expected. The $40 million cost was quoted by DOT officials back in 2009 and included land acquisitions, engineering and planning. At the time the cost of construction was approximated to be $15,541,000. According to Timothy Greeley from the NJDOT, the completed construction cost is currently estimated at $18.3 million, but claims the state-funded project, which remains on budget, began construction in late 2009 and should be finished by 2012. The project was initially estimated to take 18 to 20 months with completion by July of 2011. Byram residents, commuters and businesses owners in the area are frustrated by what seems to be a lack of progress in accordance with the initial time frame estimates. Byram Councilwoman Marie Raffay said, “Traffic is so much worse in the area now.” Byram Mayor James Oscovitch, said, “I am very unhappy about the traffic condition and I am worried about what is going to happen over the winter. I am worried about the safety of the workers since there is no police presence to help with safety.” Business owners and commuters that can see the daily activity of the workers are upset because work seems to be so intermittent. Businesswoman Jackie Harrison said, “Work is sporadic. It is a real issue. I believe we are losing customers because it is hard to see our entrance.” According to a press release issued by Timothy Greeley from the NJDOT, “One lane of Route 206 will be maintained in each direction during daytime and peak period hours and the left turn lanes at Waterloo Road and Brookwood Road intersections will remain in use.” NJDOT anticipates the current traffic pattern remaining in place for approximately eight months.