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Palisades Interstate Parkway Repaving Set To Begin

FORT LEE, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Repaving operations were set to begin Monday on the Palisades Interstate Parkway.

Milling and paving will start Monday night in the northbound lanes at the bridge and continue along an 11-mile stretch toward the New York-New Jersey state line.

The contractor will be allowed to close one travel lane during off-peak hours.

The $11 million project will resurface the road and three scenic overlooks and include repairs to 13 bridge decks as needed. Construction is expected to last until the end of the year, Joseph Bertoni, Acting Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Transportation, told 1010 WINS last week.

CBS 2 broke the story in March of the festering roadway, which left vehicles wrecked and even sent some people to the hospital over the winter. The New Jersey section of the road has not been paved since 1996.

"I was lucky to survive and the next person might not be so lucky," motorist Carol Bayard said after she demolished her Mercedes Benz in March when the car dipped into a pothole and careened across the road.

Bayard's story and others prompted then New Jersey Commissioner of Transportation James Simpson to take a ride for himself, and see the rough road that hasn't been repaved in 18 years.

"It was worse than some Third World countries that I've been to that I shall not name," Simpson told CBS 2 on March 8. "I could not believe that there was a highway in New Jersey that was as bad as it was."

The condition of the Palisades Parkway is much better once motorists cross the state line into New York, where the interstate is maintained by the New York Department of Transportation, CBS 2's Hazel Sanchez reported in February.

But on the New Jersey side, the Palisades Interstate Park Commission is responsible for the upkeep of the parkway, but said it is up to the state of New Jersey to pay for the repaving project. Initially, Simpson told CBS 2's Steve Langford the money was not there and it was not possible right now.

"We have a choice," Simpson said on March 7. "We've got other roads like the Palisades Parkway, so if we were to pave the Palisades Parkway, there would be a state road that would not get paid. We have limited resources. That's the problem right now."

But soon afterward, Simpson took the ride on the Palisades and admitted the roadway is an embarrassment and promised to have it repaved.

Simpson said Langford's questions about the condition of the road made him wonder.

"It dawned on me that maybe I should take a look at it even though the Department of Transportation doesn't own it. The speed limit was 50 and I could only go 30," Simpson said.

The Palisades Interstate Parkway was completed in 1958 and spans 42 miles from the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee, New Jersey to the Bear Mountain Bridge connecting Rockland and Westchester counties.

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(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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