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.

Freeholder Romano: 'HR story claiming upper Sinatra roadway at risk incorrect'

Hudson Reporter claim - Uptown Sinatra Drive at risk due to Hudson County hiding 2011 report

A report in the Hudson Reporter yesterday suggested Hudson County is putting upper Sinatra Drive at risk due to delaying an underwater inspection of an the area between 14th and 15th Street.

In a phone interview this morning however, Freeholder Anthony Romano called the report incorrect.  "The roadway is safe.  Divers will be going in to perform a routine check of the area next week."

A Hudson County Freeholders meeting on Wednesday is the claimed source of the revelations but the details along with the report were not available.  MSV is awaiting obtaining the actual report.

Another person familiar with the area in question says the repairs required were already made for 13th and 14th and the new inspection is scheduled for above that portion.

Uptown pier extending away from Sinatra Drive.  Is there a major problem lurking underneath?
Conflicting reports are not in agreement on the question but the Hudson Reporter story yesterday is incorrect
based on an interview with Freeholder Anthony Romano this morning.

Talking Ed Note: Oddly, this story surfaces about a year after the Old Guard in Hoboken tried to pin blame for the problems on upper Sinatra's collapse on Mayor Zimmer.  They claimed she had been warned earlier about risks to the area but the charge was not true.

Update: The initial story here this morning mirrored the information from the incorrect report but an early interview fixed that problem.

Mayor Dawn Zimmer - two events next week of note

Dear Friends,

I am writing to personally invite you to two very important
fundraising events next week.

Hoboken Charter School Fundraiser
Next Tuesday, September 18th
at the Turtle Club, 936 Park Avenue
6-9 PM   

As most of you know, Hoboken Charter School’s building was
badly damaged in a fire last week.  While insurance will cover
a great deal of the costs, there is immediate need for additional help. 
The Hoboken Rotary is sponsoring this event and the Turtle Club is
offering a complimentary beverage to anyone who donates $10
at the door.

Vote Yes for November Fundraiser
Next Thursday, September 20th
at Arthurs Tavern, 237 Washington Street
6-8 PM

The citizen sponsored election reform to consolidate municipal elections
on Election Day in November is critically important to the future of our town. 
Holding our elections on Election Day will empower Hoboken citizens
by increasing voter participation, reducing voter fatigue, reducing the
seemingly endless barrage of campaign literature and saving taxpayers money.

Unfortunately, the well financed enemies of reform are gearing up to oppose
this much needed reform.  Please help this citizen’s group by giving them
the resources they need to get these reforms enacted by the voters
this November.

The event will include light refreshments and open bar for beer and wine. 
The requested contribution is $100 ($150 for couples).

I will be attending both events and look forward to seeing many of you there.