The New Jersey Department of Transportation is involved with multiple projects around the Garden State to prevent rocks from tumbling down onto highways.

According to Steve Schapiro, the deputy director of communications for New Jersey Department of Transportation, projects are either under way or planned for Routes 80, 29, 78, 22, 23 and 94.

He said a total of 11 rock fall mitigation projects are in the pipeline across the State.

Schapiro said based on geological factors, DOT personnel will travel around Jersey examining areas that may pose a rock fall threat, using guidelines developed by the Federal Highway Administration’s Rock Fall Hazard Management System.

“Using those guidelines we’re able to prioritize the federal funds that are dedicated solely for the purpose of rock fall mitigation," Schapiro said.

He pointed out the Federal Highway Administration requires all states to make sure rock falls don’t take place on interstate and state highways.

He said New Jersey receives $25 million a year for this purpose, and different projects will feature different types of protections. Those could include earthen berms, trenched areas, mesh on rockfaces, retaining walls, fencing and other techniques.

Schapiro explained when vegetation roots get into the cracks of rocks, those rocks may become destabilized, so sometimes vegetation removal is done.

“There have been rock fall tragedies in other states,” he said. We want to do our best to make sure that does not happen in New Jersey.”

You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com

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