The state Department of Transportation is waiting for waters to recede before fixing a portion of Interstate 287 North that partially collapsed late Sunday night.
The highway remained closed through the evening commute to northbound traffic between exits 43 and 45 as the DOT waits for flood waters to recede far enough to begin repairs.
“We anticipate that 287 northbound will remain closed at this time,” said Tim Greeley, spokesman for the New Jersey Department of Transportation. “As soon as we can, we will begin making the necessary repairs to that side of the highway.”
The overwhelming amount of storm water coupled with rising tides and record crests on a number of inland rivers "combines to present a highly challenging condition for the earth underneath our highways," Greeley said. At milepost 44.3, erosion from the water caused close to 100 feet of the shoulder to collapse, and the erosion is ongoing.
The road closure caused a massive traffic backup between I-287 at exit 40 (Parsippany and Entin roads) through exit 43. Late Sunday night, a section of the highway collapsed—specifically the shoulder, a portion of the right lane and for the bridge—over the Rockaway River in Boonton. Northbound traffic has been diverted as a result of the damage, state police said.
Drivers have been detoured around the area of the collapse. Those attempting to get onto I-287 north from Parsippany are being sent up Route 202 to exit 45.
This is just some of the headache the river is causing in the area following this weekend's storm. Hundreds of residents of Parsippany's Lake Hiawatha had to be evacuated after the river breached its retaining wall, causing severe flooding. Rescue crews are still in lower Hiawatha helping people leave the water-logged section. Many are now in hotels, with family or friends or being housed in an evacuation shelter site at Lake Hiawatha Elementary School on Lincoln Avenue in Parsippany.
There is no word yet as to when displaced residents will be permitted to return to their homes.
Another evacuation is taking place at the Holiday Inn and Howard Johnson hotels on Route 46 East due to flooding from Irene. Parsippany's Rescue and Recovery squad and other groups are removing people at the hotel to safe sites.
Patch will continue to update this story.