"Dead Man's Curve" repairs face spring start

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:18

WEST MILFORD — A promised county rebuild to "Dead Man's Curve" is finally expected to start in early spring, according to information the council has received. Councilman William Gervens promised that repair and improvements to Greenwood Lake Turnpike would definitely start in the spring of 2005, he said at the council meeting on Dec. 16. Doubt about the project increased after Passaic County rejected all bids received for the redesigned road due to the estimates exceeding the county's projected costs. While Gervens sympathized with the county and its difficulty in financing and resolving construction problems, he reassured the council the improvements would start soon. Greenwood Lake Turnpike is one of the major arteries on the edge of town leading to Awosting, Ringwood and Wanaque as well as a heavily traveled route for drivers to and from Route 17. It also contains one of the town's more infamous bends in the road in "Dead Man's Curve." The tight and perilous corner which gives drivers coming into town no margin for error, or little sight of oncoming traffic, would be completely eradicated by the road works. An intention to straighten this part of the road is built into the plans and would come as a relief to many drivers forced to negotiate the curve. It was a year ago that residents were told the road would be redesigned to eliminate some of the hazards which also include washboard conditions. Such bouncing caused a piece of heavy equipment to break its moorings and slide from the back of a flatbed trailer last year. The lowest bid for the improvements to the road is said to be $8.8 million which was higher than the $7.2 million the county had budgeted. Several factors affected the high bids including a price rise in materials such as concrete, asphalt and steel as well as bidders factoring in their costs over a period of six to 18 months. The county is planning to borrow to meet the costs of the road work. Meeting the rising costs of roadwork has become a nationwide problem and many states are debating strategies to find the best way to raise necessary finances. North Dakota placed a $15 increase on the price of registering a car or truck and are considering raising the cost of motor fuels tax. Minnesota officials concluded from a recent conference that they need $1 billion to improve their roads and aim to raise the money mainly from a 50 percent increase in gasoline taxes over the next two years. The introduction and increasing of toll fees also is being used to raise revenues including in South Carolina where a 33 percent increase in toll prices will take affect on Jan. 3 on the Southern Connector toll road. Councilman Joseph Elcavage asked Administrator Richard Kunze to contact his county counterpart, Anthony De Nova, for more information on the bidding process and a time frame for rebuild.