Watchung Council Told Weekend Construction Underway
Greenlighted Saturday construction for PSE&G project—but not until after Nov. 1.
After giving PSE&G permission to work on Saturdays after Nov. 1 at last month's meeting, Watchung Borough Council members were upset to hear a report the company is already doing weekend work, Thursday.
The company had requested a variance from the borough's construction codes to do the work replacing the high-voltage lines running through town as part of its Reliability Project. In order to expedite the work, the council agreed to the weekend work, whihc wasn't supposed to start until November.
At Thursday's Borough Council meeting, Valley Road resident Harold Kafka said PSE&G crews have been out on the last two Saturdays performing drilling and other work—and disrupting his horse riding business.
"I asked them not to do certain things when...we're doing a riding project, and they basically said, 'Look, you've known about this project for a year, year-and-a-half, shut your business down,'" Kafka said. "Saturday is a big day for us—I can't have the kids have that."
Kafka also complained about water runoff from areas where stone was placed in preparation for the drilling work that he said caused flooding on his property—but council members were more interested in hearing about the work being done on Saturday.
"It was my understanding the Saturdays were only going to be between Nov. 11 and Dec. 15—I don't understand why the work is starting now," Council President Debra Joren said. She added the council was told the work was scheduled to start at crews assembling at 8 a.m.—with work starting closer to 9 a.m., but Kafka said the work has been starting at 7 a.m.
The council planned to ask PSE&G Regional Public Affairs Manager Rich Dwyer to attend the Sept. 27 council meeting, as well as Kafka, to resolve the issue—but Mayor Gerald Mobus pointed out that means two additional Saturdays of unauthorized construction before the issues are resolved.
Borough Attorney Albert Cruz offered to contact the company Friday to stop any further work on weekends.