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Update: Barricades Near Smith Field Raise Questions About Traffic Safety

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PARSIPPANY – On September 18th, a car veered off Route 46, breaking through two fences and coming to a halt on the 40-yard line of Smith Field, a public park. The vehicle was promptly towed away. Just a few months earlier, a separate car had crashed in the vicinity of the same location.

Parsippany Police investigated the area where the vehicle entered the field. Today there is caution tape showing the area. File Photo taken on September 18.
The vehicle veered off Route 46, breaking through two fences and coming to a halt on the 40-yard line of Smith Field

It’s important to note that at the time of both incidents, no children were playing on Smith Field.

During a council meeting in September, Councilman Justin Musella raised the question of why barricades couldn’t be installed to prevent a recurrence of such incidents. He was informed by the administration that since it’s a State Highway, Parsippany lacked the authority to install barricades, even temporarily.

Barricades Near Smith Field Raise Questions About Traffic Safety

More recently, barricades have indeed been placed on Route 46. Interestingly, these barricades were positioned near the crash site but not at the exact location where the accidents occurred. Instead, the only demarcation in the area of the two accidents is “Caution” tape, which can be easily removed by anyone.

Caution Tape Marks Spot Where Two Vehicles Left Route 46, Entering Smith Field

The barricades in question are most likely of the Yodock 2001MD or a similar model, measuring 6 feet in length, 18 inches in width, and 32 inches in height when empty. When filled with water, they weigh approximately 900 pounds each and can be interlocked to create larger barricaded areas.

Another concern relates to the Park and Ride near the former Empire Diner, where commuters typically park and then walk westward along Route 46 (on the eastbound lane) to access the bus stop area. Due to the placement of the barricades on the lawn, commuters are now forced to walk on the shoulder of Route 46, creating a potentially hazardous situation for local residents.

According to Business Administrator Jamie Cryan, temporary barriers were placed in this area of Route 46 roughly three months ago by the township’s public works department as a temporary measure while the town waits for the state to get back to them about placing permanent barriers there.

The barricades are marked with “OEM,” signifying the Office of Emergency Management. When inquiries were made to Eric Hubner, the response received was that he did not know who placed the barricades on Route 46.

According to Cryan, the Parsippany Police Department traffic division and the Engineering Department have reached out to the NJDOT on multiple occasions in the hopes that they would consider performing the following:

  • a traffic study of the intersection
  • change the traffic pattern and light sequence timing, and
  • install a guide rail along Route 46 East (Smith Field).

Several questions remain unanswered: Who placed the barricades there, and why weren’t they positioned in an area where the two accidents occured? Additionally, why is there only caution tape at the actual accident locations?

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Frank Cahill
Frank Cahillhttps://www.frankcahill.com
Publisher of Parsippany Focus since 1989 and Morris Focus since January 1, 2019, both covering a wide range of events. Mr. Cahill serves as the Executive Board Member of the Parsippany Area Chamber of Commerce, President Kiwanis Club of Tri-Town, and Chairman of the Parsippany-Troy Hills Economic Development Advisory Board. Owner of the Morris now app serving small business in Morris County.
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