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Rice, Cunningham Bill to Require Roadside Maintenance Safety Policies Advances

TRENTON A bill sponsored by Senator Ronald L. Rice and Senator Sandra B. Cunningham that would require the New Jersey Turnpike Authority to implement safety policies for emergency roadside maintenance workers was approved by the Senate Transportation Committee today.

“All New Jerseyans know the importance of the Turnpike in connecting us to each other and integrating us into the entire east coast corridor,” said Senator Rice (D-Essex).  “When issues arise that require emergency maintenance, repairs must be made immediately, regardless of the traffic volume.  This bill protects the men and women of the Turnpike Authority who risk their lives providing the emergency maintenance that keeps our state’s main artery viable.”

“When vehicles travel at highway speeds, accidents can be catastrophic for the workers who place themselves in danger to keep the highway fully functional,” said Senator Cunningham (D-Hudson).  “In their interest, we want to put as many precautions in place to ensure that there are proper safeguards for their protection.”

The bill, S-1246, would provide for roadside maintenance safety policies that include:

  • enhanced inclement weather precautions such as roadside warning signs, safety vehicles and variable message signs placed at the proper distance to the work zone to prepare motorists for emergency maintenance ahead;
  • prohibiting employees of the authority from using power tools in inclement weather for non-emergency operations;
  • mandating that all roadside maintenance operations involving the use of gas-powered landscaping equipment be performed during daylight hours, except in emergency situations; and
  • requiring that portable roadside light towers be used during all roadside maintenance performed before or after daylight hours.

The bill would take effect immediately after becoming law.

It passed out of committee with a 5-0 vote.