Geo Washington Bridge upper level to be redecked

September 6, 2007
By Peter Samuel

The theory is that if the Islamists explode a truck bomb on the lower level of the George Washington Bridge then it might blast a large hole though both decks of the bridge, putting New York City's major interstate standard Hudson River crossing completely out of commission.

However if they explode their truck bomb on the upper level calculations are it only risks serious damage to that one deck. The explosive energy upward would be harmlessly dissipated in the air above. The deck below would only require debris to be removed - a cleanup - and it could be put back in service.

So since 9/11/2001 the Port Authority has been limiting heavy trucks to the upper level.

Trouble is the concentration of trucks has been pounding the upper level deck to pieces.

Says an announcement by the PANYNJ: "The (upper level deck rebuild) project has become a critical need as the post-9/11 security ban prohibiting truck traffic on the lower level has greatly increased truck volume on the upper level, rapidly accelerating deterioration on the existing upper-level pavement, which was installed in 1997.

"Increased truck usage has resulted in more frequent occurrences of potholes, cracking, and rutting, requiring increased maintenance and emergency repairs that adversely affect traffic flow. A total of $1.2 million was spent last year alone on emergency repairs to the upper level. The full rehabilitation must be performed now to avoid further deterioration and increased traffic caused by emergency repairs."

Full depth replacement of nearly 600k sq ft (56k m2) of deck and approach roads will be rebuilt in two stages: eastbound this year and 2008 westbound 2009.

Work will be done 10pm (2200) to 10am (1000) with cars diverted to the lower lanes and trucks using a special truck lane.

The easbound rebuild is costing $10.3m.

The GWB opened to traffic in 1931 with 6 lanes. Lanes were added each side to make it 8 lanes in 1946. A lower level of 6 lanes was opened in 1962

The GWB is getting an average of $86m a year spent on capital works planned over the next ten years. All expenditures come from tolls.

The bridge is the world's busiest with around 300k veh/day using its 14 lanes. It carries I-95 and many other co-signed routes across the Hudson River between Ft Lee NJ and Ft Washington NY in upper Manhattan at 178th Street.

TOLLROADSnews 2007-09-06

Union official and muslim takes offense

COMMENT: Did the word Islamasist have to be used to describe terrorist? I am of the Islamic faith and I take offense that those who practice either Muslim or Islamic faith are labeled as the bad guy.

If my memory serves, McVeigh and Nichols were terrorist why are their faiths being questioned? Oh I know why.

Just be careful of labeling folks.

Pearre Dean/Regional COPE Director
Pennsylvania AFL-CIO


RESPONSE: McVeigh and Nichols were loners, not part of a larger movement or an ongoing terrorist threat.

Islamists are the ones now threatening and planning attacks on us. I wrote 'Islamists' which is the accepted term for Muslim extremists like Al Qaeda who constantly declare themselves at war with us - a "jihad" or holy war.

I did not write Muslims. Unless you sympathize with those at war with us, you have no reason to take offense.

Peter Samuel editor TOLLROADSnews 2007-09-07 10:30

FOLLOW-ON: Pearre Dean called. He works with toll collectors at the Pennsylvania Turnpike and his father helped found the local. He tells me he has no sympathy at all for the extremists. He just objects to the "bundling" which he thought was implicit in calling "Islamists" terrorists.

We are arguing important semantics here.

The suffixes -ism and -ists denote those who make an ideology and an extreme or radical calling of the religion.

Islamists are the subset of muslims or people of the Islamic faith dedicated to imposition of shariah (or Islamic law) on everyone, the ones who would destroy the checks and balances of our system, and the freedoms and tolerance we enjoy under the US constitution. Muslims who support the Constitution are certainly NOT Islamists.

Here are extracts from a piece in the New York Sun (Aug 29) by mideast expert Daniel Pipes arguing against calls to ban the Koran. Note his concluding statement that Islam is not the enemy, but Islamism is:

"Non-Muslims occasionally raise the idea of banning the Koran, Islam, and Muslims. Examples this month include calls by a political leader in the Netherlands, Geert Wilders, to ban the Koran -- which he compares to Hitler's Mein Kampf... In perhaps the most serious contemporary attempt to ban the Koran, a Hindu group argued in 1984-85 that the Islamic scriptures contain 'numerous sayings, repeated in the book over and over again, which on grounds of religion promote disharmony, feeling of enmity, hatred and ill-will between different religious communities and incite people to commit violence and disturb public tranquility.'

"Pim Fortuyn (1948-2002) led the most consequential effort so far to end Muslim emigration, in his case, to the Netherlands.This early petition set the standard in terms of collecting objectionable Koranic verses. Other efforts have been more rhetorical and less operational. The most consequential was by Pim Fortuyn in the Netherlands to end Muslim immigration. Had he not been assassinated in 2002, he might have ridden his issue to the prime ministry.

"The coordinator of Italy's Northern League, Roberto Calderoli, wrote in 2005: 'Islam has to be declared illegal until Islamists are prepared to renounce those parts of their pseudo political and religious doctrine glorifying violence and the oppression of other cultures and religions.'

"A British member of Parliament, Boris Johnson, pointed out in 2005 that passing a Racial and Religious Hatred Bill 'must mean banning the reading -- in public or private -- of a great many passages of the Koran itself'...

"I understand the security-based urge to exclude the Koran, Islam, and Muslims, but these efforts are too broad, sweeping up inspirational passages with objectionable ones, reformers with extremists, friends with foes. Also, they ignore the possibility of positive change.

"More practical and focused would be to reduce the threats of jihad and shariah by banning Islamist interpretations of the Koran, as well as Islamism and Islamists. Precedents exist. A Saudi-sponsored Koran was pulled from school libraries. Preachers have gone to jail for their interpretation of the Koran. Extreme versions of Islam are criminally prosecuted. Organizations are outlawed. Politicians have called for Islamists to leave their countries.

"Islam is not the enemy, but Islamism is. Tolerate moderate Islam, but eradicate its radical variants."

TOLLROADSnews 2007-09-06 11:58

 

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