Hillsborough residents frustrated by halted Route 206 widening project
Work started on widening a portion of Route 206 that runs through Hillsborough began more than two years ago. That construction work stopped in April and has yet to restart.
Homeowners and drivers in Hillsborough say they’ve been left with a mess and feel helpless when it comes to seeing this project finished.
Hillsborough Mayor Shawn Lipani tells News 12 New Jersey that the work likely won’t pick up until the spring. The road project is being run by the New Jersey state Department of Transportation. The work stopped when the DOT fired the contractor on the job citing safety violations.
That contractor is Konkus Corporation, based in Hillsborough and owned by Keith Konkus. The unfinished work is frustrating to drivers who deal with heavy traffic on the narrow roadway. While homeowners and businesses have been left with muddy unfinished driveways and curbing.
“You see a road in disrepair. You see shoulders that are gone. Dirt shoulders people’s driveways that are torn up. Signs that are down,” Lipani says. “So it’s basically as if you ripped up a road and left it…This will be our second winter that we have to deal with this. The mud season of the spring the dust of the summer.”
The mayor says that the DOT needs to put the project out to bid once again.
Meanwhile, Konkus is suing the state of New Jersey for wrongful termination. He wants to reclaim his losses, arguing the state DOT was wrong when it filed safety violations.
“We followed their staging plans to a T. Their staging plans do not work in the field or real life,” Konkus said. “We argued for a year that we need construction barriers to work safely and they told us no proceed forward."
Konkus says when his company continued with the work they were told they violated safety protocols.
The Route 206 road widening is a $40 million project. Konkus says he has other projects with the state worth $75 million that are running smoothly. But this one was a bust.
In the meantime, the residents of Hillsborough are stuck with several more months of traffic and construction zones through a major artery in town.