Byram council decides to fight DOT plan

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:48

    BYRAM-The Byram Township Council is putting the State Department of Transportation on notice that the current Route 206 expansion proposal is completely unacceptable as is. The council unanimously voted during the Monday evening session to send a strongly worded letter to DOT and Highlands Council officials followed by an official resolution stipulating that the township will support only a plan that calls for a more gradual implementation of the project. "No way am I letting them lay pavement down for a five-lane highway," said Councilwoman Donna Griff. "And the plan has to include computerized smart lights and pedestrian friendly crossings. I am not opposing the project, I just want the right project for Byram." The members of the council also expressed dissatisfaction with the way the DOT handled last week's Route 206 public review meeting as well as the way the plan was presented. "I was very disturbed by the meeting." Griff said. "This all-or-nothing approach is just a scare tactic. And it is an outrage." Councilman James Oscovitch said the state had "sandbagged" Byram into the decision. According to council members, the DOT has admitted that the plan is not the best possible, but that the state is moving forward with it. "The (DOT) engineer told me this is not the best solution, but it is the only one they've got," said Councilman John Esposito. "There is an unwillingness to look at other things. (DOT) is strong-arming us with a take it or leave it attitude. They strive for mediocrity". While the council pushed for a resolution clearly stating that the plan has to be reworked or it will not be acceptable, Mayor Skip Danielson expressed the one dissenting voice. "If they (the DOT) will go with phasing I am with you. If they won't go with phasing I'm with it (the original plan). We can't let this go," he said. The council will vote on the measure at the next meeting scheduled for June 6.