Some Jersey shore legislators say the formation of a task force meant to make changes to shore-area evacuation routes — for use in the event of a hurricane — needs to be done quickly.
On Jan. 30, the state Assembly passed legislation establishing the New Jersey Coastal Evacuation Task Force, with members to be appointed within 60 days.
However, the Legislature has been tied up in the budget process, and a task force has yet to be formed, Assemblyman Jeff Van Drew, a Cape May County Democrat who sponsored the bill, told The Press of Atlantic City for Sunday editions.
“I’m anxious to see this task force off and running,” said Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf, a Republican from Atlantic, Burlington and Ocean counties who also sponsored the bill.
“I realize there are a lot of pressing issues in the state, but none more pressing than a hurricane bearing down upon us,” Rumpf said.
Van Drew said vulnerable spots include Route 47, a “two-lane country road” that is often congested. Other inadequacies include Route 55, where construction has been stalled, and the Great Egg Harbor Bridge, which has no shoulders and could pose a problem because a breakdown could snarl traffic.
Also, Van Drew said, the Beesleys Point Bridge, which has been closed for three years, could be reopened as an additional exit, but would soon become impassable.
The traditional June 1 start of the hurricane season starts in only a few weeks. While last year’s Atlantic hurricane season was relatively mild, a top storm researcher has predicted a very active 2007 hurricane season.
William Gray of Colorado State University has said he expects at least nine hurricanes, with a good chance one will hit the U.S. coast.
Information from: The Press of Atlantic City,
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