Fallen Tree Causes Road Closure in Hopatcong
Here is why Sparta Road was shut down on 5/11/15 from 10:55pm to 7:00 am on the 12th.. The first paragraphs with the time stamps are from our police dispatcher. The second part is where Officer Barta wrote his report.
Tree down on Verizon phone lines; Tree suspended on the phone lines across the southbound lane; BT186HG
8:07:06 PM Spoke to Verizon; She said call your DPW; Explained our DPW does not do that; Explained tree is laying on their phone lines; She is contacting their duty foreman; They will be calling us back
8:38:30 PM Called Verizon back. She stated that the foreman was supposed to call. She will call him back and tell him to call now.
8:42:05 PM Bridget from Verizon called the tech dispatched; be there in an hour
9:03:12 PM Jonathan Moore called; sending tech and Local manager from construction dept.
9:18:56 PM Jonathan Moore called; Verizon cant do anything; making contact with Sussex County in
reference to barricading the road
9:46:48 PM Requested County call to close road and or cut tree
9:51:26 PM County called ; can not cut tree as long as its touching phone lines; requested they come close road
10:02:09 PM Notified Sgt. Mariani also Sparta dispatch
10:57:07 PM Road is closed
I responded to the intersection of Sparta Rd and Maxim Dr for a report of a tree on wires. On arrival, I observed a large tree laying on cable and telephone wires near pole # BT 1826 HG. The tree was completely over the Southbound lane and partially over the northbound lane. I shut down the sounthbound lane and helped in directing traffic around the tree. The branches are nearly touching the roadway and are a hazard within themselves. I asked dispatch to have a tree cutting crew from Verizon respond to my location to open the roadway. I told them to advise Verizon it was a very busy county road and would like to expedite the opening of the road. They advised Verizon was sending out someone within the hour.
9:15 pm – Mr Moore arrived and said that he can’t help me. The county was responsible for removing the tree from the wires. I told him that was never the case in the past and if something changed, he should call his powers to be and have them work their magic and convince the county to cut the tree. He said he would see what he could. He made a call and apologized for not being able to help. He cleared saying it should be the counties problem.
9:35 pm – I asked dispatch to try and see if Verizon had any luck convincing the county to cut the tree down. If not, they would need to shut down the road with barricades.
10:55 pm – Sussex Cty DPW arrived and closed down the road. They advised that they have never and will not ever take responsibility of cutting trees off telephone lines. Or any other kind of lines. They placed the burden back onto Verizon. I advised dispatch Sparta Rd was closed from Maxim Dr to Amity Rd in Byram. I further asked that dispatch tell Byram dispatch that the road was being detoured in their section of the roadway as well. All busing and schools will be advised of the road closure as well.
11:20 pm – I called Verizon (800-787-6701) myself when I returned to headquarters. I spoke to Allison. I told her of the road closure and the hazard the tree still poses to the public if it wasn’t addressed shortly. I told them that I personally spoke to Sussex Cty DPW and they were not taking any action to remove the tree from Verizon’s phone lines. I urged Allison to call a tree service to remove the tree because the problems of Sparta Rd being closed on Monday morning was going to be substantial. I put the safety issue back in their court. I told them I was washing our departments hands of the problem and they would have to come to a solution to rectify the problem from here on out. Allison said that she was going to advise the supervisor Mr Moore about my phone call and let him make the final decision.
Lt. Kmetz : At around 0700 Sgt. Magrini responded to the scene. A Verizon crew was there with the Sussex County DPW. The Verizon crew advised Sgt. Magrini they were going to cut the tree because it was on their wires. The Sussex County DPW assisted in cleaning the road.
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