Byram-State meeting on Route 206 ‘a disappointment'

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:57

Byram - “The whole thing is a disappointment to me. I will never sign another resolution supporting this.” That is how Byram Town Councilman Earl Riley summed up last week’s meeting between Byram, State Senator Robert Littell, and officials from the state and Sussex County departments of transportation to discuss the future plans for Route 206. Riley and fellow Councilman Jim Oscovitch met with the project’s decision-makers to present Byram’s contentions that local officials were not included in the planning stages, that the project does not incorporate the state’s own guidelines for smart growth and that it does not take into consideration new regulations regarding Highlands Preservation. According to Riley, because most of the proposed improvements to the roadway are outside Byram’s section of the Highlands region, state officials did not see the need to review the issues. “My point that I tried to make was the Highland’s region as a whole (will be affected), not just the Town of Byram,” said Riley. “It was a point that I believe was not understood.” Riley acknowledged that state officials listened to Byram’s concerns, but in the end, he said the municipality’s comments fell on deaf ears. “The bottom line is that Senator Littell’s Chief of Staff said we would really like to do the project with Byram’s support - but we will do it without,” said Riley. Bryam did not walk away from the meeting empty handed. The DOT agreed to go back and look at changes the town would like to make concerning pedestrian safety issues and some landscaping design issues. DOT is to come up with new proposals for Byram to review by the end of the month. While the meeting did not result in the outcome Riley would have liked, he was pleased that it took place. “I would like to thank the Senator (Littell) for pulling this together,” said Riley. “Our request to (meet with) DOT fell on deaf ears for a long time.”