Route 17 Maintenance Irks Heights Officials

Officials continue to voice complaints regarding the state Department of Transportation's maintenance of the Route 17 water basin and recent emergency repair work.

Hasbrouck Heights officials say the state Department of Transportation has slacked off on maintaining a water basin at the Route 17 corridor near Franklin Avenue, calling the area an "overgrown mess." 

Borough Engineer Ken Job reported Tuesday that nothing has been done by the DOT in recent months to . The vegetation at the site has grown so much that it could begin to affect the way the basin functions, potentially causing it to back up and flood, he said.

Some of the vegetation is beginning to grow through the fencing that surrounds it, Job said, adding that some of it has died and “is just hanging there.”

“It’s not only unsightly but can affect the function in a heavy storm,” said Job. 

Mayor Rose Heck said it’s a frustrating situation, particularly because the borough told the state they feared these issues would happen before the state installed this basin about two years ago. The site was previously a traffic island.

Since then, the borough has sent numerous letters, and had concerning the drainage at the site, its maintenance and other issues. The DOT has since at the site and has performed some maintenance, but the borough continues to report that regular maintenance is not being conducted.

Heck said she recently gave another representative from the governor’s office a tour, which included the water basin site in the hopes to get the state to maintain it.

Maintenance concerns regarding Route 17 are also a concern.  The borough recently paid roughly $100,000 towards the underneath the “fast lane” on the southbound side of the highway.

Job said he inspected the sewer pipe and found that when it was initially installed, it lied underneath a grassy median.  He said the sewer pipe should have been reinforced with a concrete sub-base when the road was widened by the state years ago. He believes that it would have kept the pipe from being damaged by the amount of vehicle loading it was subjected to now that it was lying being the “fast lane.”

In response, Heck suggested the borough consider sending the state the bill for the emergency work.

“Every time [the state DOT] rebuilt Route 17 we said we would have problems that would be costly to this borough and we would like to be reimbursed this $100,000,” Heck said. 


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