The window of opportunity as controlled by Mother Nature is closing as contractors in New Jersey work to restart transportation construction projects halted when Governor Christie issued his executive stop order last July in response to the state's trust fund fiasco.
Now that the New Jersey Transportation Trust Fund has been signed by the governor, raising the gas tax by 23 cents, contractors are resuming work. But restarting those construction projects isn't as simple as rebooting a computer, said the head of an association which represents contractors. Most contractors moved equipment and material off the site of the halted projects, when the shutdown order was issued.
"It's not like all the equipment and laborers are in a pen next to the job site, waiting. Some went to work on other jobs and equipment may be an issue, if it was rented," said Anthony Attanasio executive director of the Utility and Transportation Contractors Association of New Jersey.
For some, depending on the type of project, this construction season is over. Attanasio says if conditions stay favorable, paving contractors will be able to work another two weeks before it gets too cold.
Contractors working on projects like bridges are exposed to more complicated environmental issues. Some bridge contractors who were limited to just several months to work near rivers and streams where consideration of marine life mating or spawning seasons narrows their timeline will have to wait to resume work. "Anytime you are construction a project over water, you have environmental permits," Attanasio said. "It's not like you're given 365 days to work. It depends on the marine life."