Montclair’s Brick Road Battle - My9 New Jersey

Montclair’s Brick Road Battle

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Montclair, New Jersey (My9NJ) - At first glance, Afterglow Way in Montclair, New Jersey appears to be a beautiful brick street in Essex County, but there is a growing controversy over a proposed repaving project.

Resident Tom O’Beirne said that the damage to the brick road, which includes cracks and areas that have sunken down over the years, is in desperate need of repairs. O’Beirne owns a paving company, so when he found out the municipality was planning to repave his street he offered to do it for free.

“If you guys still want to pave Afterglow, I’ll give you a crew for a day and Parkhurst it’s only a day’s work, you provide the material and I’ll give you a professional paving crew,” he explained.

However, after he made the offer, things seemed to go sour. Many of the other residents were outraged and told their council they don’t want the bricks removed and they think the bricks help their property value.

The city then told Mr. O’Beirne that they would make the necessary repairs this summer. As a result, O’Beirne spent over $100,000 to update his own property so that after years of sinking streets, he’d be up to code. However, since the other residents opposed redoing the streets the project is off and his improvements are now being called an eyesore and a danger.

“And now I’m way too high out of the ground so I’ve got a hazard accessing my property and I’ve got an eyesore,” O’Beirne explained.

Councilman Sean Spiller said that they’re still looking into this issue, but had to slow down the process because they have a responsibility to hear all residents’ concerns.

Labor estimates show that it will cost the city of Montclair about $1 million to raise the road up to code and replace it with brick, rather than $25,000 to repave the street all together. With such a big difference in price, should this become a city problem or should the cost fall on the people who live on the brick road?


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