Tunnel opens after delay for radio communications fix
A $330 million Atlantic City, NJ, tunnel project has opened today after testing for radio communications, according to a story written by Donald Wittkowski on PressPlus, an online news service of South Jersey Publishing.
The tunnel, known as the Atlantic City Expressway Connector, was to have opened last Friday, but the chief of Atlantic City’s Office of Emergency Management, Robert W. Levy Sr., withheld approval. The problem Levy cited was that the city’s VHF radio system could not penetrate the tunnel, and inadequate provision had been made to extend its communications through the tunnel’s own 800MHz system.
On Monday, specialists installed a converter to translate the VHF signals to 800MHz. Although the fix appears to be a stop-gap, the resulting communications met Levy’s approval. Details about the installation were not immediately available.
Levy, along with representatives of an ambulance service and a hospital, most recently had pointed out the radio communications deficiencies to the South Jersey Transportation Authority about two months ago. Finally, Levy contended that “the transportation authority rushed to open the tunnel before the communications system was ready and compounded the problem by waiting until the last minute to test the radio equipment,” the PressPlus story stated.
The usual finger-pointing has ensued. The executive director of the transportation authority, James Crawford, said that the authority and its contractors knew about the radio frequency incompatibility five years ago. He blamed the contractors. Levy blames the transportation authority.
Richard Fischer, the project manager for Parsons Brinckerhoff, a New York consulting firm overseeing construction, was in meetings and not available for comment.