Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Fight for the Bridge Continues

September 21, 2007
News Release


GROUP FILES FEDERAL LAWSUIT TO STOP DESTRUCTION OF HIGHLANDS SEABRIGHT BRIDGE


A citizens group has filed a federal lawsuit today seeking to prevent any further work on the Highlands-Sea Bright Bridge.

The group, which is called “Citizens for Rational Coastal Development,” alleges that the federal government incorrectly evaluated the historical aspect of the bridge and failed to provide an environmental impact study relating to the project. The group also alleges that a public hearing was required before the federal government released funds to the State for this project.

According to the group’s lawyer, Stuart J. Lieberman, “it is important that government rigidly adheres to all procedures required when they undertake large scale projects such as this. Here, the record reflects numerous shortcuts which were aimed at providing the public with either little information or misinformation.”

The group is especially critical of the State DOT’s “Hyper Build Program” which began in 2004. This project was specifically identified as a Hyper Build project.

According to Lieberman, “the State objection to the hyper build project was a streamline on capital improvement projects such as this bridge. As a result, the entire community was left in the dark about this project and the status of the work.”

Copies of the complaint maybe obtained by contacting Lieberman & Blecher, P.C. at 732-355-1311. Or contacting Stuart J. Lieberman directly at (609) 529-6557

3 comments:

ambrosiajr said...

I don't understand all the commotion with getting rid of that bridge. I lived in Highlands for 17 years and that bridge was not only falling apart, but its a pain when you get stopped for the boat traffic. I can't tell you how many times I was there waiting for 15-20minutes until the sailboats motored through. ( kind of like an oxymoron when applied to power sailboats). Please explain to me the attraction. I though it should have been demolished years ago.

Art Gallagher said...

Rick,

Neither side is saying to leave the bridge alone. There is no question that it needs to be repaired or replaced.

The controversy is over what kind of bridge. NJDOT spent $14 million on the design (that seems like a whole lot of money for a design)of a bridge that will be 73 feet high and look like a turnpike entrance.

The communities are opposed to this design and are calling for a design that is more in keeping with the character of the area and that will not obstruct the view from and of the Twin Lights.

My biggest peave is the deceit with which NJDOT has operated for years. I don't have time to go into all of it now. In a nut shell, when they started communicating about this project many years ago they said they wanted community input and that nothing was written in stone. Turns out that was not the case.

There is growing concern now that the new bridge will be the first step in a massive construction project that will turn Ocean Ave (Rt 36) on Sea Bright, Monmouth Beach and Long Branch into a four lane highway going to the new convention center, as well as support the redevelopement of Ft Hancock.

bagpipernj said...

Art is absolutely right; this is not a matter about whether the bridge is in need, but rather in what form. When will our government officials recognize that the people of NJ are demanding excellence as well as the leadership to create that excellence? This bridge is a perfect example where both state and local officals haven't a clue.
When do the people deserve beauty and a public works which is built as a monument to the greatness of the people of New Jersey?