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N.J. fence would protect trains

(Bloomberg News circulated the following article on December 14.)

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey plans to build a 10-foot-high security fence along a 2.6-mile stretch of the New Jersey Turnpike to thwart terrorist attacks on chemical-laden freight trains.

The $6 million project also will include closed-circuit television and motion sensors to monitor the 90-ton railcars, which carry chlorine, ammonia and other toxic chemicals near the turnpike stretch known as "Chemical Alley," said Richard Cañas, New Jersey's homeland security director.

Though the cars are empty when they sit next to the northbound lanes of the turnpike, their presence has raised concerns from the public and must be addressed, Cañas said. Mass transit bombings in Madrid and London have highlighted the need for the security measures, he said.

Joseph Orlando, spokesman for turnpike executive director Michael Lapolla, said the fence would be built in three sections: a one-mile stretch of the turnpike near ConocoPhillips' Bayway Refinery in Linden; and 1.1-mile and half-mile sections near Port Newark/Elizabeth, across from Newark Liberty International Airport.

Gov. Corzine, who pushed for new chemical plant security guidelines while in the U.S. Senate from 2001 to 2006, directed the homeland security office three months ago to develop a rail safety package.

The Turnpike Authority's executive board voted Dec. 12 to expedite the barrier initiative and will let Lapolla award contracts as soon as bids are unsealed Jan. 4, Orlando said.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

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