NEW JERSEY HERALD STAFF REPORT
The “cave” under part of Interstate 80 in the Delaware Water Gap “poses no short-term safety concerns at this time, but the condition does need repair,” according to the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
The assurance was in response to a report published Wednesday in The New Jersey Herald and information and photographs gathered by I80CoalitionDWG Facebook Group.
A prepared statement sent to The Herald late Wednesday by DOT Deputy Director of Communications Stephen Schapiro and to the I80CoalitionDWG by Megan Fackler, DOT acting manager, government & community relations, explains the DOT assessment was based on inspectors’ initial evaluation of the structure, but adds that further evaluation is needed to determine the cause of the erosion.
“This is necessary to understand the full scope of the issues so an appropriate repair can be designed,” the statement reads. “It is too early to have a schedule of how or when the repairs will be completed.There may be the need for temporary lane closures during off-peak hours while NJDOT crews are conducting further evaluations.”
The “cave” under the eastbound lanes of I-80 is near the area of a proposed rock mitigation project that has met opposition from stakeholders on both sides of the Delaware River.
The Knowlton Township Committee requested its professional engineer also visit the area with a report expected to be delivered at Thursday evening’s committee meeting.
Thursday afternoon’s DOT response also expressed appreciation for residents “bringing potential safety concerns to the attention of the Department.”
However, the DOT urged residents to notify the Department “and not risk their personal safety to investigate a possible concern. NJDOT will send professionals to conduct any needed evaluations in a safe manner.”
Also in response to a question from The Herald, the DOT said that residents who would like an update on this issue, or have any questions or concerns, can contact the NJDOT Office of Community and Constituent Relations by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 609-963-1982.