Friday, September 14, 2012

Hudson County: Upper Sinatra Drive Safe, the Hudson Reporter 'wrong'

County of Hudson announces:


Jersey City, NJ--The Hudson County Division of Engineering is seeking to contract Langan Engineering of Elmwood Park, NJ to conduct an inspection of the area of Sinatra Drive North adjacent to a section of the roadway that collapsed at 14th Street in Hoboken in 2010. The cost of this inspection is estimated to be $39,000.

Over the last year, the Division of Engineering sought federal funding for the inspection from a program operated by the US Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration focused on bridge safety. Winning such funds would have been the first step toward winning federal funding to conduct any future repairs. (The cost of repairing the collapsed section in 2010 exceeded $2 million.)

Ultimately the inspection of this section of Sinatra Drive North, which does sit on an underwater platform structure akin to a bridge, was not deemed eligible for funding through this federal program.

Prior to seeking the federal funding, the County Engineer was provided with a copy of the Hoboken Waterfront Safety Inspection Report commissioned by the city of Hoboken and carried out by Boswell Engineering of South Hackensack, NJ.

Based on that report, which indicated that there was no immediate danger of collapse for the section of Sinatra Drive North in question, the County Engineer believed in his professional opinion, that he could take the time required to explore whether the inspection could be funded federally.

Under questioning on Tuesday at the most recent Caucus Meeting of The Hudson County Board of Chosen Freeholders, one member, whose district does not include the area in question, used language in an inspection report carried by Lagan Engineering immediately following the collapse of the section of Sinatra Drive North to question the decision of County Division of Engineering to take the time it did to seek the grant.

The County Engineer attempted to explain during this questioning that in fact the Boswell report followed the first Langan Report (Boswell's was more recent) and that based on that report, he believed, in his professional opinion, that waiting to seek possible federal funding did not put the public at any risk.

“I want to assure residents that I have complete faith in our Engineer’s decisions in this matter,” said Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise. “It is unfortunate that there appears to have been an effort to inflame public opinion regarding the inspection process during the recent caucus.  Seeking possible federal dollars to underwrite this inspection was a sensible financial decision backed by sound science and the fullest possible concern for public safety.”

There are absolutely no plans to close this section of Sinatra Drive North.

View from uptown Sinatra Drive.  County Executive Tom DeGise called the misinformation about the safety of the area 
"an effort to inflame public opinion regarding the inspection process."

Talking Ed Note: The Hudson Reporter apparently agrees with MSV.  They've yanked their "breaking" story down with no correction or explanation.