Cape May County Assemblymen to NJDOT: Can Route 47 Work Wait?
Two elected officials from Cape May County have asked the NJ Department of Transportation if a closure of Route 47 just days before President Trump visits Wildwood can be delayed for a few days.
Assemblymen Erik Simonsen and Antwan McClellan sent a letter to NJDOT commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti on Wednesday voicing their concerns.
In a Facebook post, Simonsen said, "This is happening just a few miles from the president’s visit. DOT’s last-minute road closure will cause massive traffic problems on what would normally be a quiet, winter day at the shore. This is why we are asking the commissioner to postpone the roadwork until after the president’s visit."
McClellan commented, "We must think of the safety of the motorists traveling, some from great distances, to attend the President’s rally. Call it poor timing, but next week is not an appropriate time to start road repairs that will directly impact motorists coming from the southwestern area of the state."
The NJDOT says Route 47 will be closed in both directions for the next six months from Indian Trail Road and Springers Mill Road in Middle Township to repair a culvert over Dias Creek which resulted in sinkholes that are compromising the roadway.
The state made the announcement around the same time as President Trump announced he would be holding a rally in Wildwood with Congressman Jeff Van Drew. The timing of the announcement caused many Trump supporters to call the road closure, "Bridgegate 2,", however, documents show construction plans were in the works prior to Trump's announcement.
In response to the timing, NJDOT spokesperson Steve Shapiro told the Townsquare News Network, "This is necessary emergency work that was scheduled before the announcement of President Trump’s visit and unfortunately cannot wait."
According to Congressman Jeff Van Drew, as many as 100,000 tickets have been requested for Mr. Trump's rally at the Wildwoods Convention Center next Tuesday night. That building can hold just over 7,000 people. With such a large number of people visiting Wildwood, thousands of people are expected to use Route 47 and the closure could cause long traffic delays.
With prior reporting from Dan Alexander.