Ocean County Press Release
WITH MORE than 1,600 county lane miles to maintain and a growing population especially in the northern area, Ocean County officials are beginning to implement recommendations made in the transportation master plan update that focuses primarily on Toms River, Brick, Jackson and Lakewood townships.
"Road improvements which enhance public safety are a priority for this Board of Freeholders," said Ocean County Freeholder John P. Kelly, Director of Law and Public Safety and liaison to the Ocean County Department of Engineering. "While Ocean County has an aggressive road improvement program, we have been focusing on the northern region of the county because of the growth in those municipalities.
"Keeping our roads up to date and well maintained is an important step in moving people around the county safely and effectively," Kelly said.
As part of the traffic signal improvements outlined in the transportation model update or master plan, which was completed in late 2017, the Freeholders, during their July 25 preboard meeting, authorized the county engineer to seek bids for the redesign of the traffic signal by two popular shopping centers on Hooper Avenue in Toms River.
"At the request of Freeholders Joe Vicari and Ginny Haines, I am pleased we are now going out to bid for this beneficial project," said Ocean County Freeholder Director Gerry P. Little. "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 without having to access nearby U-turns. The work is expected to get started this fall.
"This change will provide full access to Hooper Avenue," Ocean County Freeholder Joseph H. Vicari has said. "The new traffic signal configuration will be good for motorists and for the area businesses."
In order to accommodate the new left turns from the shopping centers and the ability to cross Hooper Avenue to access the opposite shopping center, the median will be opened to accommodate the new traffic signal and configuration.
Currently motorists leaving the Ocean Center that want to go south on Hooper Avenue drive north to Indian Hill Road and then go south at the jughandle. Motorists leaving the Commons at Hooper shopping center need to proceed south to Oak Avenue to make the U-turn to access Hooper Avenue north.
The newly configured traffic signal would be a benefit to motorists trying to access the two shopping centers anchored by Target and Lowes on the east side and Michael's and DSW on the west in order to provide full access to Hooper Avenue.
"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," Kelly said. "We will be improving traffic signals along Hooper Avenue from Toms River into Brick Township. This project is part of the numerous recommendations made in the updated County transportation master plan that focuses on upgrades in the four municipalities in the transportation plan."
"This plan takes a broader look at our northern roads," said Freeholder Deputy Director John C. Bartlett Jr., "This is a tool that helps us plan into the future. There are many other projects we will be looking to implement over time."
For example, the County has been upgrading traffic signals on East County Line Road, Lakewood and is working on designs to improve Cross Street.
"We have improvements that are stretching across these municipalities from west to east based on the results of the transportation model update," said Ocean County Engineer John Ernst.
In January 2017, with the completion of the Route 9 corridor study, Ocean County undertook a study to review potential county road network improvements in the northern area of the County. The recommendations were used to upgrade Ocean County's countywide transportation master plan, which was last updated in 2013.
"It was determined that an update to the transportation model for the northern municipalities was warranted to reflect new growth patterns," Kelly said. "This update will be used by the County to update our long term capital improvement program."
In addition to reviewing all traffic count data currently available from the County, the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority and the state Department of Transportation, the consultant also looked at socioeconomic data, zoning information, planned developments, approved developments, and certificates of occupancy.
The consultant, Stantec Consulting Services, Wall Township, developed forecasts for years 2025 and beyond.