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Parkway Finally Three Lanes

Memorial Day holiday helps to halt work in Ocean County south of Toms River

Ocean County officials rejoiced yesterday as the last of the barrels were removed from the Garden State Parkway between Toms River and Manahawkin, signaling the long-awaited opening of a highway that is now three lanes in each direction.

"That extra lane is a tremendous improvement,’’ said Freeholder John P. Kelly, who makes the trip from West Creek to the county seat everyday.

"It makes a remarkable difference,’’ said Freeholder Gerry P. Little of Surf City, who is also on the newly widened stretch of highway each day.

Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari said the New Jersey Turnpike Authority kept its promise to get the widened stretch of the toll road open before Memorial Day. Vicari said that should help the tourism season that traditionally starts on that holiday.

Kelly said the Authority "did a good job keeping traffic moving’’ while the road was being widened. "Our engineering department worked very closely with the Turnpike Authority,’’ planning the widening and realigning of county roads at key interchanges, particularly in Barnegat.

Little said the work done on the Parkway was a "good economic boost to Ocean County,’’ because many county residents worked on the project.

Freeholder John C. Bartlett Jr. asked Kelly to have a report prepared on county spending in conjunction with the Parkway widening. "It’s a considerable amount,’’ he said.

Little said the business owners on Long Beach Island are "looking for a positive season,’’ and those hopes are buoyed by the wider toll road – if gas prices continue to drop.

Vicari said in addition to the Parkway project being completed, work has stopped on the Tunney Bridge taking Route 37 from Seaside Heights to Toms River.

"The tourism outlook is good,’’ he declared.

BN May 27, 2011 at 12:10 PM
It's nice to drive the GSP without a pimped-out rice burner riding my arse and flashing the high beams because I'm doing under 70 in the right lane.
GaryR May 27, 2011 at 02:48 PM
While we are handing out accolades to the Turnpike Authority, I think we also need to recognize the contractors involved in this project. Earle Contracting is one of the best out there for completing projects of this size on time. From the tree removal company, to the folks that paint the lines...great job coordinating with each other, working together, and providing a nice looking job as well. What a pleasure not sitting in traffic at Exit 81 going South as the road used to narrow from 3/4 lanes to 2!
Eric Thomas May 27, 2011 at 03:15 PM
This project was the product of the Corzine Administration and that should not be forgotten. Call me a skeptic, but I will take a wait and see approach. I have seen too many road projects that look good when opened rapidly deteriorate. One need only drive Rt. 72 between Rt. 539 and the Rt. 70 traffic circle. A major repaving was done less than three years ago and the road is full of buckling pavement joints and pitting. Following the last repaving of Rt. 9 from Manahawkin through Lacey, that road, too, was quick to develop countless potholes and crumbling pavement. In fact, if you drive along the portion that was repaved less than one month ago you will already see numerous crumblings. A new road is always smooth and pretty. And the job needs to be done so it lasts more than ten or twelve months. More so, ongoing maintenance is the key to longevity.
Gino De Lucia May 27, 2011 at 03:48 PM
Yes, Kudos to my Buddie Wayne Salmons, and also to his c0-workers; you guys all did an awesome job! Now, if I only could get those buses to stop riding my ass & flashing their headlights at me while I'm doing 65-70 in the far right lane, then I'd really be happy! C'mon NJ State Police: nail these reckless drivers that have no concern for the safety of their passengers and for that of others that obey the law when driving on the GSP!
Eric Thomas May 27, 2011 at 04:23 PM
Mr. De Lucia raises an important point. I, too, have been victimized by irresponsible motorists in all types of vehicles from motorcycles to pickup truck and buses and regular passenger automobiles. On two occasions I have called 911 with the license plate number and other identifying criteria. One time, I saw a State Policeman with the motorist pulled over at the Toms River toll barrier. I stopped and gave the Officer my contact information stating I would be willing to testify in court. You will never end speeding in NJ or elsewhere so long as there exists common knowledge that police allow a "cushion" (I believe the term of art is "tolerance") of speed sometimes substantially above the posted limit.

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