By Desirée Taylor
It’s a bumpy ride on the Palisades Parkway because it’s cratered with potholes. Motorists claim the Jersey side’s so much worse than the New York side.
“It was full of potholes. When we got closer to the New York side the road got much better,” said Adrian Guran.
“Very, very bumpy and dangerous. I don’t want to have a blowout. Right at the border at Rockland County, the roads are smooth,” said Jennifer MacFarlane.
So why is Jersey the rougher ride? We asked Jim Hall, the executive director of the Palisades Interstate Parkway Commission, which manages the roadway that runs from Fort Lee to Orange County, New York.
“In New York, it was paved nine years ago. That’s largely why we see a significant difference,” Hall said.
Compare that to the New Jersey side of the Parkway. Last time it got new pavement — 18 years ago. Add a harsh winter like this one, and you’ve got potholes big enough to do some damage. Hall says it’s not their fault.
“We do own the road, however without state appropriations to do the repaving, not much we can do about it. That’s why we’ve had capital requests for past five years to no avail,” said Hall.
One roadblock, says Hall, is the price tag. Repaving the Palisades would cost New Jersey’s Department of Transportation millions.
“The last estimate DOT did last summer is $14.5 million,” Hall said. “It’s roughly twice our operating budget in New Jersey, so it’s well beyond the means the commission has to take on this project.”
New Jersey DOT didn’t immediately return our call for comment. But it has issued a press release recently talking about its pothole repair program on other roadways. Not this one because it’s not their responsibility.
But the Palisades Interstate Park Commission fielded pothole repair crews this afternoon. Hall says they’ve been out at least 22 times since January, but with so many storms it’s hard to keep up. For motorists, it’s a bittersweet sight because the crews also caused a long traffic jam.