The sound of silence
State DOT program plants tree-lined sound barrier
by E. Assata Wright
Reporter staff writer
May 05, 2013 | 3186 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The trees, which were planted in late April, now line the eastbound side of Route 3, near Flanagan Way, and the island in the middle of the road on the westbound side of Route 3.
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Residents who live along Route 3 are hoping the third time’s the charm.

For the third time in the last 20 years, the state of New Jersey has, at the town’s request, planted dozens of trees along this busy thoroughfare. The trees will hopefully serve as a sound barrier, blocking traffic noise along busy Route 3.

“Ever since I became mayor [in 2010], we’ve had complaints about noise on Route 3 and we’ve been trying to get the state to plant some trees to help block that noise,” said Secaucus Mayor Michael Gonnelli. He believes the state finally agreed to the town’s request now because New Jersey is gearing up to host the XLVIII Super Bowl on Feb. 2, 2014.

MetLife Stadium in nearby East Rutherford is the host site for the game, and several game-related events have already been planned for Secaucus and other Hudson County municipalities.

The trees, which cost a little more than $100,000 to purchase and plant, were paid for by New Jersey’s Good Neighbor Program, a program that is operated by the state Department of Transportation (DOT).

History lesson: Only the strong – and watered – survive

The trees, which were planted in late April, now line the eastbound side of Route 3, near Flanagan Way, and the island in the middle of the road on the westbound side of Route 3.

This is not the first time the town has tried to use trees as a sound barrier along Route 3. At least twice in the 1990s the town persuaded state officials to plant trees in much of the same area as where the newest group of trees now grow.

Unfortunately, once the trees were planted, there was never an agreement between the town and the state regarding their upkeep and the trees died.

Gonnelli insists that pattern won’t be repeated this time around.

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The trees that were selected for planting this time around are heartier and stronger than the varietals that were planted in the past.

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“Our agreement with the state was that they would pay for the trees and for the planting,” he said. “VIP Contracting, which is the company that supplied the trees, is responsible for their upkeep for the next year. After that, the town is responsible for their maintenance.”

He added that the trees that were selected for planting this time around are heartier and stronger than the varietals that were planted in the past. Among the trees that now line Route 3 are different varieties of spruce and sage trees, white birch, dark American arborvitae, and forsythia.

The mayor credits Secaucus resident and state Assemblyman Vincent Prieto (Dist. 32-Secaucus) with helping shepherd the Good Neighbor grant through the DOT so the tree planting became a reality. Gonnelli said he hopes to get further assistance from the state to similarly line parts of Maple Avenue, another area of town where residents have complained of noise from traffic.

E-mail E. Assata Wright at awright@hudsonreporter.com.

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