After 19 years the NJ Turnpike Authority has a sudden change of heart and ripped American Flags from the bridges. Robbinsville PBA releases statement. Protest held in Searen, NJ Woodbridge Township over removed flags
See updates to MidJersey.News story here:
UPDATE Robbinsville Township PBA is hosting a replace the flags event at 12 noon September 11, 2020 see link below. The NJ Turnpike Authority has been removing flags placed and replaced on bridges by the local PBA
September 6, 2020
ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)- WOODBRIDGE – SEWAREN, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–The New Jersey Turnpike Authority has removed American Flags from bridges along the highway recently. The flags were replaced with signage that reads, “Placement of signage or items of any nature on this structure is strictly prohibited.” Many American Flags have been placed on bridges after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. Many people including veterans, police and other organizations have been maintaining these flags on bridges since the attacks.
After 19 years the NJ Turnpike Authority has a sudden change of heart and ripped American Flags from the bridges citing a “distraction”
Statement by the NJ Turnpike Authority on the flags:
Turnpike Authority Statement on Posting of Flags, Posters, and Signs on Turnpike and Parkway Bridges:
The New Jersey Turnpike Authority appreciates and applauds patriotism. We try to express patriotism ourselves every day by maintaining dozens of American flags at properties in our right of way — office buildings, toll plazas, service areas, maintenance facilities, State Police buildings, warehouses. Those flags are treated with the utmost respect by Turnpike Authority personnel. They are flown on suitable staffs. They are illuminated at night. They are lowered to half-staff when the state is in mourning. They are removed, properly destroyed, and promptly replaced when they become faded or worn and are no longer suitable symbols of our national ideals.
The long-standing policy of the New Jersey Turnpike Authority has been to prohibit the display of any flags, signs, or banners by private parties on Turnpike Authority property. While we appreciate the desire of some New Jersey residents to express their patriotism in these turbulent times by displaying flags on Turnpike and Parkway overpasses, Turnpike Authority regulations do not allow it, and for good reason. The Turnpike and Parkway run through more than 100 municipalities and include more than 1,100 bridges and other structures. The NJTA cannot adequately monitor flags mounted by private citizens to make sure they are safely and securely hung, properly displayed, and respectfully maintained. While we hope that everyone who wants to display the American flag finds a suitable location to do so, we believe that limiting the flags displayed on Turnpike Authority property to ones hung and maintained by Turnpike Authority staff is the best way to assure that all flags in the Turnpike and Parkway right of way are treated with the respect they deserve.
Several Facebook users have posted their dissatisfaction with the removal of the flags on the NJ Turnpike Facebook Page below:
Statement from Robbinsville PBA Local #344:
Last month, Robbinsville P.B.A. Local 344 purchased over a dozen American flags to replace those that were either missing or tattered on the overpasses covering the New Jersey Turnpike and I-195. The amount of support we received via social media and throughout town was incredible, and our post reached nearly 8,000 viewers. The reason we decided to replace the flags was to continue the tradition of honoring our veterans and those lost in service for our country. American flags have been flown on overpasses throughout the state and throughout the nation since 9/11.
Now, as we approach the anniversary of that horrific day, we are extremely disappointed to announce that the NJ Turnpike Authority saw fit to remove all flags on overpasses covering the N.J.T.P. last week, replacing them with signs citing N.J.A.C. 19:9-1.13. This is a code which is meant to apply to advertisement material or improper road signage. We cannot understand why the N.J.T.P.A. has suddenly decided to abandon a tradition of patriotism and respect for our veterans. It is not known what happened to the brand new flags that we put up, but we truly hope they were respectfully disposed of, if not displayed elsewhere.
The flags that we placed on the overpasses were firmly secured, and it was the P.B.A.’s full intention to continue maintaining them, to ensure proper respect was given. They did not impede traffic and did not obstruct visibility for passing motorists. The placement of the flags was done in the same manner that has been done for nearly twenty years.
I have written to the Director of Relations at the N.J.T.P.A. and hope to have a reason for the unexplained action soon. If any share in our disappointment at the removal of the flags, please feel free to write/call their office (firstname.lastname@example.org / (732)750-5300).
We hope this matter is resolved soon, and we will continue to fly the American flag proudly. Have a great Labor Day.
President – Robbinsville P.B.A. Local #344
A peaceful protest was held in Sewaren, Woodbridge Township, NJ today protesting the removal of American Flags from bridges on the New Jersey Turnpike.