PERTH AMBOY – “Mr. Snipes saved more lives than the whole State has done. Even the Assemblyman should be embarrassed to be here. They wasted more time on drawing up the proclamation than on the safety of the bridge.”
These words were spoken by frequent Council Attendee Reinaldo Aviles. Aviles was referring to how Mr. Snipes actions brought attention to the problems associated with the Victory Bridge which has no real barriers to prevent people from attempting to commit to harm themselves by jumping off.
There was a large turnout of people, supporters and family members (Of Mr. Snipes and the troubled young man who Mr. Snipes saved) at the meeting.
This also prompted Resident Dorothy Daniel to comment about how it also puts our police, firemen and other emergency personnel in danger. “Whenever they go into the water to retrieve a life there is a chance that they might be caught in a current. I don’t want to lose “my guys”. I used to speak to the previous administration about the suicide bridge. I am not sure about the numbers but I believe there have been about 23 attempts and 17 completions of people who took their own lives.”
Council President Kenneth Balut said, “The Bridge that is up now is not the original design and it went over budget.”
Mayor Diaz commented that she met with Assemblyman John S. Wisniewski in 2008 asking for help for improvements with the Victory Bridge. She also sent a letter dated October 27, 2011 to James Simpson, Commissioner of NJDOT (New Jersey Department of Transportation) asking for funding for bridge improvements. (See Page 10 for complete letter)
There was a letter from NJDOT dated December 28, 2011 stating that at this time there was no available funding to help for improvements.