Ocean County Press Release
TOMS RIVER – With more than 1,600 county lane miles to maintain along with almost 260 bridges and culverts, the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders is getting ready to provide funds for a number of improvements and safety projects.
"With long term planning we always take a close look at our roads and our infrastructure and set priorities in order to improve our road network all while staying within our budget," said Ocean County Freeholder John P. Kelly, Director of Law and Public Safety. "All of the projects to be funded in 2018 have been closely reviewed and are determined to be necessary improvements and safety projects."
The Board of Freeholders is scheduled to vote on three funding ordinances during its Feb. 21 meeting following public hearings.
The proposed funding measures combined provide $6.5 million for rehabilitation and repair of various bridges, roads, drainage improvements and for design of reconstruction and resurfacing of some county roads.
"We have the largest road network of any County in the state," said Ocean County Freeholder Director Gerry P. Little, who is liaison to the county's Road Department. "It's important those roads are well maintained for our motorists and our visitors."
Among the projects being funded in 2018 is the redesign of the traffic signal by two popular shopping centers on Hooper Avenue, here.
"I am pleased that we are moving ahead with these plans," said Ocean County Freeholder Joseph H. Vicari who proposed the work with Freeholder Virginia E. Haines. "When this work is complete it will bring much needed relief to motorists accessing these plazas."
Planned changes to the traffic signal and traffic pattern by the two popular shopping centers on Hooper Avenue, south of Indian Hill Road, will allow motorists to make left turns out of each shopping center without having to access nearby U-turns.
"This change will provide full access to Hooper Avenue," Vicari said. "The current traffic signals provide limited access to Hooper Avenue.
"The new traffic signal configuration will help motorists access both north and southbound Hooper Avenue and also will allow for the crossing of Hooper Avenue to the other shopping center," Vicari said. "This is good for motorists and good for business."
Kelly noted this is a heavily traveled area of the Hooper Avenue corridor.
"We believe this modification will have a positive outcome with traffic safety and accessibility," he said.
Also being funded is the design for improvements to Cross Street in Lakewood.
"We will be starting design on improvements to Cross Street making it a three lane section from Route 9 to Route 528. The work also includes intersection improvements," Kelly said.
He noted the Cross Street project is part of the recommendations of the countywide transportation model update that was undertaken in 2017.
"The transportation model update is an important tool to help us with future planning when it comes to the county road network," Kelly said. "The update to the transportation model looked at the northern municipalities to reflect new growth patterns.
"The update will be used by the County as part of our long term capital improvement program," he added.
The funding also will be used for repairs or replacements of the Mayetta Bridge in Stafford Township, Ridgeway Boulevard Bridge, Manchester Township, Grawtown Bridge, Jackson Township, Zebbs Bridge, Berkeley Township and Morris Boulevard Bridge, Stafford Township.
"It's important to take a proactive approach to maintaining our bridges," Kelly said. "We want to repair or replace them before they become a hazard to our motorists and pedestrians.
"The safety of our motorists and our pedestrians is a priority in Ocean County," he said.
Other projects scheduled to be funded are the replacement of the East Branch culvert Route 539, Barnegat Township, Ridgway Boulevard drainage replacement, Manchester Township, the widening of Chambers Bridge Road at the Garden State Parkway in Brick Township, and improvements to Massachusetts Avenue and Prospect Street intersection in Lakewood Township.
In addition, as part of the County's annual overlay program, safety improvements including stormwater drainage work, new paving and reconstruction will be done on 21 County roads encompassing almost 24 miles of roadway.