Last Summer, Hurricane Irene caused damage to the Garden State and forced thousands to evacuate their homes. A new measure just signed into law in Trenton will help with the procedures if something similar was to happen again.

Governor Chris Christie has signed the legislation introduced by 9th District Representatives. It requires annual public awareness campaigns, lane reversal provisions on our major roads including the Garden State Parkway and Atlantic City Expressway and establishes a special needs registry. Senator Chris Connors and Assembly members Brian Rumpf and Dianne Gove are responsible for crafting the bill.

The Coastal New Jersey Evacuation Task Force was established in 2007 under legislation sponsored by the Delegation and charged with examining and assessing current plans and proposals to evacuate the state’s seven coastal counties. Assemblyman Rumpf served as Vice Chairman of the Task Force and was instrumental in the development of the recommendations published in the Task Force’s final report issued to the Legislature in May 2008.

Senator Connors says “Our Delegation undertook this effort in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Rather than sit back and simply hope for the best, we felt it was important for New Jersey to learn from the experiences in New Orleans and other affected areas of the Gulf Coast region and better prepare for challenges that could severely hamper evacuation efforts.”

“Then, this past summer New Jersey got a wake-up call that only highlighted the pressing need for enhancing coastal evacuation procedures. Though only hitting New Jersey with less force than previously feared, Hurricane Irene triggered mandatory evacuations and caused damage throughout the state. Moreover, its impact demonstrated, in no uncertain terms, that New Jersey is not immune from severe weather.”

The measure (S-264/A-3224) will implement recommendations made by the Coastal New Jersey Evacuation Task Force in its final report.