Following an incident on Wednesday, additional safety precautions at the Maplewood Post Office demolition site are in place, Maplewood Mayor Vic DeLuca reported today.
“The Township has spoken to the developer and the demolition crew. We made it clear that more precautions need to be taken to prevent further problems. At 7 a.m. this morning, I personally spoke to the equipment operator to express the Township’s concern and to discuss how the balance of the building will be demolished.”
The Mayor noted that signs have been posted “making it clear that the sidewalk along the post office is closed and pedestrians should use the crosswalks to get to the sidewalk on the Kings side of the street.”
Additionally, the Mayor said, “When the outside walls of the post office building are being taken down, there will be flag men on the outside of the fence to direct pedestrians to safe locations. This will require occasional closing a of the covered passage way to the train tracks but it will only be on a temporary basis. It may also result in cars being momentarily stopped to allow the outside walls to be removed.”
The precautions follow an incident on Wednesday when demolition crews knocked a section of the building’s facade into safety fencing, taking down a flagpole and a portion of the fencing onto the sidewalk. The flagpole also fell across Maplewood Avenue which was open to traffic at the time. No one was injured in the incident, which was captured on videotape by a worker at Freeman’s Fish Market.
When contacted about the incident, a spokeswoman for Mazza Demolition and Recycling of Tinton Falls said that the company had “no comment.”
Yesterday, the site’s developer, Joe Forgione of JMF Properties, said, “We will make sure that it’s not going to happen again. The demolition contractor will be held accountable.” He also noted, “We have completely closed the sidewalk in front of the building.”
Today, Forgione noted that a crews were “certainly” attuned to the need to be “more careful.” He also noted that more men had been added to the crews “to help direct pedestrian traffic.”