Route 440 deaths renew calls for pedestrian bridges
The deaths of two Bayonne residents on Route 440 on Nov. 2 have renewed the call for pedestrian bridges over the east side roadway.
The two men, 25 and 20 years old, were crossing the highway at 32nd Street when they were hit. They were pronounced dead at the scene.
“My heart goes out to the families of the victims involved in the horrific tragedy,” said Mayor James Davis in a statement last week. “Words cannot fully express my most sincere condolences during this time of mourning.”
The administration has been working to have at least one pedestrian bridge constructed over Route 440.
“We recognize that pedestrian crossings of Route 440 can be hazardous at times. As we move forward toward full development of the MOT on the east side of the highway, we’ve made sure that associated plans call for a pedestrian bridge,” Davis said. “This measure, which we continue to push as a priority, will improve the safety of pedestrians crossing the highway.”
Davis said that because Route 440 is a state roadway, the city must work with the New Jersey Department of Transportation to get the bridge built. His administration is in the process of setting up a meeting with DOT representatives to explore additional options to keep pedestrians safe.
An online petition was started by residents seeking the span.
Sires: transportation funding bill passes
U.S. Representative Albio Sires on Nov. 5 released a statement about the passage of the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015.
The bipartisan, long-term reauthorization bill will fund highway, bridge, transportation safety, and public transit projects. The legislation passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 363-64
“I am pleased that this transportation reauthorization will provide $325 billion to invest in our nation’s transportation infrastructure and give states the certainty that follows long-term federal investment,” Sires said.
The legislation maintains current funding levels for highway programs, increases bus funding by almost 40 percent to reverse significant cuts in the last transportation reauthorization, increases railway-highway grade crossing funding by $5 million per year, and continues current funding levels for the Transportation Alternatives Program.
The legislation will create a program to address large freight projects of national and regional significance with dedicated funding. The legislation will also help create domestic jobs by strengthening Buy America requirements.
The bill also creates new performance measures to make smarter investments that increase access to jobs in low-income communities.
Sires introduced H.R. 200, the Commute Less Act, at the beginning of the 114th Congress.
Firefighters battle three-alarm blaze at industrial site
The Bayonne Fire Department responded to a three-alarm blaze at 99 Ave. A in response to a report of a warehouse fire on Monday, Nov. 9, a fire official said.
Firefighters were confronted with heavy smoke coming from the roof, and fire and smoke traveling along the underside of the roof, according to Fire Chief Gregory Rogers.
“Construction workers were evacuated from the structure and firefighters advanced multiple fire hoses to extinguish the fire that damaged the underside of the roof and an insulated pipe shaft that was attached,” Rogers said in a statement.
The fire was declared under control in about an hour. There were no reported injuries.
The fire damage extended beneath the roof for approximately 100 feet, and moderate levels of smoke and water damage occurred.
The 160,000-square-foot vacant warehouse was empty of content at the time of the fire, and was undergoing repairs.
Workers were reportedly using propane torches to remove a heat exchanger when insulation below the roof ignited, according to Rogers. The workers unsuccessfully attempted to extinguish the fire.
The warehouse was recently purchased by the Penwood Company.
The department investigator determined that the fire was accidental, and was the result of a worker’s torch igniting insulation in the roof area on the warehouse’s south side.