Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Plainfield and Route 22 overpass: A clarification that makes things worse?

Sometimes there is static in the communications.
Here's a clarification on yesterday's Plainfield Today post about Plainfield as the site for WASTE from the upcoming Route 22 overpass project in Bridgewater (see post here).

It is not WASTE that is being considered for Plainfield, it is the supplying of TRACK BALLAST for NJT's operations.

Track ballast support rails and ties, drains away moisture.

TRACK BALLAST, which looks like ordinary stone, but is specially sized to optimize its uses in supporting railway ties and rails and in draining water away from the right-of-way (see here and here), is supplied for the Conrail lines on which NJ Transit operates its trains by the quarry located on Chimney Rock Road, just north of Route 22.

The rail spur which serves the quarry will be out of commission during the overpass construction, which has been quoted in the newspapers
(see here and here) as being expected to take two years.

The need for the track ballast will not be abated, so the stone will have to be shipped via another means.

Hence the dump trucks, hence Plainfield.

The likely staging area for the track ballast
would be adjacent to the Reinco building (upper center).

If the daily output from the quarry is 12-13 rail cars (spotted by a commenter passing Netherwood Station) and it takes 5 dump trucks to fill one car, the math says that would be about 60-75 dump trucks pounding the streets of Plainfield four or five days a week for two years (or more if the construction falls behind, as often happens).

Wear and tear on the streets. Increased risk of pedestrian danger. Noise.

Would a siding have to be constructed adjacent to the Reinco lot? How would the trucks gain access? What construction and equipment would be required to get the stone from the trucks to the rail cars? Would an enormous pile of ballast be built up there? Would everything be restored to the status quo ante after the Route 22 project is finished?

And the large question remains: Is Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs party to discussions on using the Plainfield site to store and transfer the track ballast on a large scale, or is she out of the loop.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Alan Goldstein said...

Am I missing something here (like perhaps the sources for your ruminations)? Why would they schlep this all to Plainfield when they have access to the same rail line in Bound Brook, within about a mile from the construction site?

Is the purpose of the post just to gratuitously poke the mayor for poking's sake? If you've got some basis for all this, then I suggest you spell it out with the who, what and where. It sounds pretty nonsensical to me.

Anonymous said...

I hope that the City will negotiate a good deal regarding this issue, on behalf of the tax payers.

There are many residents who will be inconvenienced (i.e. quality of life) not to mention the wear and tear on the streets. This is an opportunity for the City to make a few extra dollars if they play their cards right, through permits, fees, etc.

I hope they know what they're doing.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Plainfield people, let's think as first class people. This will do nothing to further Plainfield - it will be dusty, dirty, in the summer think about having dump trucks around the city - why do you want this???

We deserve better, we are better - dump in Westfield - Cranford - Clark - you get the picture. Why us again???? Aren't we better than that? I am.

Dan said...

Alan -- You exactly got the point. Why WOULD they schlep this stuff to Plainfield?

Is it really possible there is no other siding along the entirely Raritan Valley Line that would do?

Or is it that Plainfield is considered 'just fine enough' for the dirty work?