Governor Christie On Route 35: We Will Rebuild Better And We Will Rebuild Now





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Published on Feb 19, 2013

Lavallette, February 19th 2013.
(Partial Transcript Below)

Rt. 35 Rebuilding Press Conference, 02-19-2013
(Transcript Below)

"Everybody in this room, both press and public, understand just how much destruction Sandy brought to our state, over $37 billion of damage, including personal property, businesses, and publicly owned infrastructure. Since day one after the storm our administration has been moving aggressively on all fronts to help residents and businesses rebuild and to repair and restore our transportation system. Nowhere is that more prevalent than right here along Route 35, which sustained some of the most severe damage in the state. In the days after Sandy, our transportation professionals did truly remarkable work along the entire highway, removing thousands of truckloads of debris and sand to make way for emergency responders, contractors, and homeowners, Sections of Route 35 were chewed away by floodwaters. I see the mayor of Mantoloking here this morning. Right in his town it was completely chewed away and the ocean met the bay. The storm surge tore in a new peninsula, washing away the houses, washing away the road, and the scope of the damage that was left left us with a choice that mirrors that of so many of our residents and businesses: build back just to where we were or rebuild better and stronger by accelerating our long-term plans for Route 35 in this area. I had a decision to make and I made it. Our decision is to rebuild better and rebuild now.

And so I'm proud to say to the people of this area that we're making this a priority.

That's why we're announcing an investment today of $215 million in federal highway funds to rebuild Route 35 from Point Pleasant Beach to the entrance of Island Beach State Park."

"DOT will be advertising the first of three contracts next month with shovels in the ground early this summer, and the entire project will be completed by the summer of 2015. If you're wondering why the project's going to take a few years, let's be clear: this is not just a resurfacing job. What we're going to do here is to get under to the entire driving surface and the drainage system that was destroyed underneath the roadway. The project will involve work by utility companies and DOT contractors. New pipes will be installed underground, including a new underground storm water drainage system, and then contractors will replace the concrete road with a thick, stable stone base topped with asphalt, making it more strong and more resilient than the road that was here before. That's part of what we're trying to do in the aftermath of this tragedy, is not to just build back to where we were, but to build back better and to use the federal funds that we're getting from the Congress to make sure that we make our infrastructure better here in this state to sustain future attacks by storms if they come, and this new roadway will be better and more durable in every way.

Commissioner Simpson has assured me that NJ DOT will work closely with all the local officials here to minimize the inconveniences that go along with a project of this magnitude, another reason why we're doing it in stages. You wouldn't want to be closing down Route 35 in the summer for a twelve-mile stretch. It would definitely hurt business a little bit. So we're going to work together with the mayors, with their councils, and with the businesses along Route 35 to make sure that we rebuild it the right way, but we try to minimize as much as we can the impact to businesses. This project's important as a symbol for the region and for all those who still face the uphill challenge of rebuilding.

As I've said all along, this is going to be a long process. It's not going to be a short one, and I also am committed to making steady and sure progress and improving on what we had before. Moving this project along is one of those markers of progress for us."


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