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Who's In Charge of the Parking Deck Collapse?

Town officials say the state has jurisdiction for the collapsed Great Indoors parking deck at Woodbridge Crossing, while NJ spokesmen say it was always Woodbridge's responsibility. Meanwhile, the building owner is handling it by themselves.


Who is in charge of oversight for the at the former Great Indoors site in Woodbridge remains almost as big a mystery as the cause of the deck failure itself.

Woodbridge officials say that they for the parking deck inspection, pointing to state authorities who they say were in charge of the deck.

But according to Lisa Ryan, spokeswoman for the NJ Department of Community Affairs (DCA), her agency never had anything to do with the Woodbridge parking deck, or any parking decks, period.

"We don't have jurisdiction over parking decks, nor would DCA have anything on repairs for the parking garage," Ryan said.

"That responsibility would all be Woodbridge's."

Ryan said that DCA officials looking at their rules and regulations and found nothing to indicate they ever had anything to do with parking decks or garages, belonging to Woodbridge or any other municipality in the state.

"There is no requirement for DCA to inspect parking decks built in NJ," Ryan said flatly.

Part of the parking deck which directly fronted the former Great Indoors store at Woodbridge Crossing in the Iselin section of town pancaked out of the blue on August 21. A forklift and van were on the 70 by 100 ft. section of concrete that collapsed directly over an entrance to the lower deck. 

No one was injured in the collapse.

Woodbridge town spokesman John Hagerty said last week that DCA had responsibility for the deck, not the township.

"We do not have structural engineers. We don't have the capability, nor is it our responsibility," Hagerty said then.

Hagerty, who fields calls for Mayor John McCormac, did not return repeated phone calls to answer DCA's claim that Woodbridge, and not the state, has responsibility for deck inspection.

The Woodbridge Crossing shopping center is a strip mall in Iselin where the deck is located. The anchor store where the section of deck collapsed housed the
Great Indoors, a Sears-owned franchise that folded in 2009.

The store has been vacant until earlier this year, when the  announced plans to rehab the store and open a branch there. Sears still owns the building.

Workmen were putting the finishing touches on exterior renovations, including sign hanging, when the collapse occurred. 

Sears spokesmen said that the building maintenance, including the deck, is being handled by the building manager, Onyx Equities, a Woodbridge-based firm.

Last week, Hagerty said that the "owner-operator" was handling inspection of the collapsed deck - not the township.

They had retained "structural engineers and [are] having an engineering review of the facility to check its structural integrity and any potential cause of the collapse," Hagerty said.

Onyx Equities did not return phone calls.

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Jojo August 29, 2012 at 11:25 AM
Typical responses when something goes wrong. No one is responsible for anything anymore.
slyfox1961 August 29, 2012 at 11:37 AM
The town doesn't have engineers? Then who inspects the large warehouse roof structures? Didn't they have someone review the roof issues that Maras brought up during the solar panel fiasco? What about CME Associates, the large engineering firm that the twonship has been retaining for decades? They counld't be leveraged for this? What about the MetroPark train and office park decks? Who is checking them? The twon is letting the owners inspect the deck? We see how well that has been working out. Where is Maras when there may be something I agree with him on?
So Much to Say August 29, 2012 at 03:43 PM
No engineers or any type of inspectors who are competent in Woodbridge. VOTERS WAKE UP!!!
WoodbridgeFoodie August 29, 2012 at 06:38 PM
It seems they are still working on the building. There is equipment parked on the parking deck every day. Not near the collapse, but still, how could anyone be sure it's safe to park up there. I certainly would't trust it.
John Ulman August 29, 2012 at 07:27 PM
Engineer can determine what caused the collasp, either to the weight, or to the desgin of the structure or the material used. It may need to look at the ground that supported the section that collapsed.
WoodbridgeFoodie September 18, 2012 at 04:42 PM
It seems that nothing is being done about the collasped parking deck, but work on the building continues. Signs state that Burlington Coat Factory will be opening in just 3 days. No repairs to the stucture have taken place and who knows if any inspections for safety have been done. I certainly won't be risking my life for shopping.

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