Hamilton Mayor Fights for Residents Impacted by Turnpike Widening
The Turnpike said ‘no’ to Hamilton for sound barriers; and now the Township is saying ‘no’ to the Turnpike.
After the Turnpike Authority’s rejection of his repeated requests for sound barriers around the area of the Turnpike slated for expansion in Hamilton Township, Mayor John F. Bencivengo is taking a different approach – he is directing that a sewer permit, needed by the Turnpike Authority because of the widening project’s impact on Hamilton’s sewer system, not be issued until the Authority comes back to the table for discussions.
“Unless the Turnpike Authority is willing to illustrate good faith and discuss some reasonable measures to protect our nearby residents, I am directing that no permits be issued to the Turnpike Authority,” said the Mayor at noon press conference near the Turnpike. “I am asking the Turnpike Authority to reexamine these issues here in Hamilton and to look for ways we can reduce the noise. I am open to looking for cost-effective solutions that will save the Turnpike Authority resources in mitigating the noise. But they need to do something. ‘No response necessary’ is not a viable answer to me – and certainly not to our residents.”
Frustrated with another example of state government making decisions that negatively impact local towns, Mayor Bencivengo cited several problems that he sees with the decision not install any sound barriers in Hamilton, such as:
· Sound barrier criteria did not rely solely on noise levels, but also included cost factors
· No 24-hour noise level test took place in Hamilton as part of noise level study
· Out of 15 locations across the Turnpike widening area that received 20-minute noise level tests at “peak hours”, one Hamilton location had the 3rd highest readings – yet a dozen other are getting sound barriers
· No consideration of how closer proximity to nearby homes and less natural barriers will increase noise to residents
· No plan to address residents concerns about overnight truck traffic
“I am willing to work with the Turnpike Authority in good-faith to address these issues, but they need to meet us half-way. The people of Hamilton Township deserve that courtesy,” concluded the Mayor. “I am sure there are reasonable solutions that can be reached. I hope that the Turnpike will be reasonable and work with us on positive and constructive solutions.”