This I-80 segment, between mileposts 1.04 and 1.45, has been continually characterized as having the highest rockfall hazard rating scores (i.e., highest risk) in the New Jersey Department of Transportation’s (NJDOT) Rockfall Hazard Management System, which is based on the Federal Highway Administration’s Rockfall Hazard Rating System. The purpose of the proposed rockfall mitigation project on I-80 westbound is to improve the safety and mobility of the traveling public by reducing the frequency and severity of rockfall events impacting the roadway. The proposed project is located in Hardwick and Knowlton Townships, Warren County, New Jersey.
I-80 serves as a regional connection between the State of New Jersey and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and New York City. I-80 is a key local access corridor through the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. Both functions are critical to the recreation and economic viability of residents, commuters, tourists and the general public.
The existing rock slope areas along the westbound lanes of I-80 within the project limits have physical and geological hazards. There are large overhangs, steep vertical faces, loose boulders, and rock blocks, which have resulted in rocks toppling down and landing on the shoulder and roadway lanes and washouts along the I-80 roadway. Rockfall occurrences along I-80 have led to crashes and lane closures that have required the deployment of New Jersey State Police and NJDOT Maintenance staff to remove rock debris and restore safe roadway access. Due to these hazardous conditions and the high traffic volumes, there is a need to address the rockfall risk to motorists and associated impacts to the environment.