Every morning and afternoon during rush hour this week, area residents are holding rallies to protest the state’s shutdown of the Route 518 bridge project in Rocky Hill.
Many residents are blaming Gov. Chris Christie for the lengthy bridge closure. The bridge closure has caused traffic jams and major delays in the area.
Residents are taking shifts to stand at major intersections and hold protest signs. The group organizing the protests, Bridgegate 2.0 Rocky Hill Bridge, has grown from about 70 members to more than 180 members in just a few days.
Last Friday, four area officials from Franklin Township, Rocky Hill and Millstone held a protest during the morning rush hour, holding a sign that read “Christie Fix This Bridge.”
The bridge repair was supposed to be completed by Aug. 5. But last month, Gov. Chris Christie ordered a statewide construction shutdown of “nonessential” projects as the battle with the New Jersey Senate over tax proposals and funding sources for the state transportation projects continued. Christie said last week that the state treasurer would shift money from other areas to fund essential projects.
Residents, officials, and police have argued that the delays caused by the bridge closure have created a safety risk. Officials worry that ambulances won’t be able to make it to the hospital in a timely manner, and say more accidents have taken place in the area because some local roads can’t handle the traffic. The delays will only get worse after the school year begins, residents said.
Some of the protesters are gathering on the Route 518 at Crescent Avenue side, and others are gathering on River Road at Crescent Ave. Some are protesting at the Griggstown Bridge.
The morning rallies begin around 7:45 a.m. and the afternoon rallies begin at about 4:30 pm.