Telling it


printDanger and Difficulties

Out on the Road
Surprising Stories

[see large picture]

To look through photographs of the Maintenance Department at work—like this one, saved by a former employee—it's clear that there's always something to do. And doing it in all kinds of weather—with onrushing traffic—can make it risky. Sam Bardach recalls that in the early years, "you worked with just cones in front of you . . . and prayed to God you didn't get hit."

Of course, Maintenance also has its surprises. Joseph Chase tells the story of the day he was on litter patrol, picked up a bag that was in the roadway—he thought it was garbage—and was shocked to see it was filled with bundles of money that had fallen off of a Brink’s truck. He returned it to the truck's guards, but set off something of a frenzy: “Next thing you know,” he says, “everybody's looking around for money and nobody's finding it, because there's more trash on the roadway than there’s goodies, let's say.”

Photograph, Maintenance crew repairing a guardrail, about 1970
Collections of The New Jersey Historical Society, gift of Ralph Mercurio