FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
West Park Drive to Reopen Tomorrow – Six Weeks After Floods
September 27, 2011
Just six weeks after the disastrous storm that washed away sections of roadways and bridges in western Cumberland County, one of the area’s most relied-upon thoroughfares is repaired and ready to reopen to traffic.
County officials say the stretch of West Park Drive that runs along Sunset Lake and connects Bridgeton with Upper Deerfield Township will reopen late Wednesday.
West Park Drive suffered serious damage on August 14th when nearly a foot of flooding rain sent lake waters sweeping across the roadway. A huge section of the eastbound lane collapsed.
For county officials, reopening the important driving route was a top priority from day one.
“We know how many people rely on West Park to get to work, to go to school, to get to the supermarket,” said Freeholder Director William Whelan. From our first emergency meeting the morning after the storm, we began fast-tracking a plan to cut through red tape and get the road open as soon as it was safely possible. We’re pleased we could make that happen.”
The repairs that made reopening possible are the first phase of a larger longer-term reconstruction project. Phase One included removal of debris from below the bridge, reconstruction of the embankment that supports the adjoining roadway, and repair of the roadway. The next phase will involve the permanent stabilization of the embankment.
“There was a lot of great work done in a short period of time,” said Freeholder Sam Fiocchi, Chair of the County Public Works Department. Our county engineer and public works people worked extremely hard over the past six weeks, not only dealing with West Park Drive, but numerous storm damaged sites as well as Hurricane Irene and the earthquake.”
The speed limit on West Park Drive from Mayor Aitken Drive to Gary Plaza will be reduced to 30 miles per hour until Phase Two is complete. Drivers will also notice a narrowed shoulders where barriers are in place until permanent guardrails are installed.
Phase One repairs are estimated to cost $250,000. Officials are hoping they will be covered by federal highway funds.
Meanwhile, design work continues for repairs to other roadways and bridges damaged in the August 14th storm. Officials are hopeful that they will be able to reopen between the end of the year and early 2012.
Keith Wasserman, County Spokesperson