Follow along with me, if you will, on the most epic of journeys. What you might expect was a simple trip from Route 37 to Route 571 via Oak Ridge Parkway, is instead a cross-town trek of baffling proportions.
One of the in place along the Oak Ridge Parkway for Hurricane Irene damage to roads there.
It’s one that will inspire both déjà vu and vertigo. It’s straight out of a Kafka novel. It’s … not fun, to say the least.
You hop off Route 37 and head north on Oak Ridge Parkway (Route 527). Your first obstacle is immediate: you must bear right onto Oakside Drive and fend for yourself, using your knowledge or assumptions on how local side streets work to get back to Oak Ridge Parkway.
Extra points for you, if you know the next left onto Sands Point will lead you back to Oak Ridge Parkway, and your detour is over. Score!
However, the detour begins anew once you come upon Cardinal Drive. Just past that intersection, the bridge on Route 527 is out. A blinking police sign, stoic cones, police tape and a stern looking orange DETOUR sign and arrow tell you it’s time to head somewhere on Cardinal Drive. Off you go!
But, wait, not so fast. A downed power line on Cardinal redirects you again. After a couple quick turns on other streets named after birds, it looks like you’re out of the woods, so to speak.
It’s at this point that your heart sinks. This detour hasn’t put you on the other side of Oak Ridge at all. Instead you are now west of where you started.
You are now at Blue Jay and Route 37. That’s correct, you are west of Oak Ridge Parkway. You just went in one big loopy circle.
And, your only choice is to head further west. This isn’t one of those Route 37 intersections with a traffic light.
Ok, well then, take a deep breath.
Somehow, you will get to Route 571. All you have to do is follow these handy orange detour signs and you’ll be there in a jiffy, right?
So as you head west on Route 37, which is probably the direct opposite of the way you wanted to go, the detour directs you to take the Mule Road jughandle and head onto Route 37 east.
After you battle traffic at the Route 37 and Lakehurst Road/Oak Ridge Parkway intersection you started this journey at, you head past the hospital and past the Garden State Parkway north entrance and follow the detour.
Where the heck are they suggesting I go?, you wonder, as you drive along toward Route 166.
The next leg of the detour kindly suggests you take the Route 166 jughandle to go north on Route 166, which will eventually intersect with Route 571 near Home Depot.
Yes, you read that correctly.
Instead of sending you up parkway north for a short stretch toward Exit 83, you should instead take the local highway of Route 166.
That is, after sitting in traffic at that Route 166/37 jughandle and inching your way up Route 166, past Old Freehold Road, Mapletree and the parkway exit, only to then sit in the traffic leading up to Route 571 as you try to make a left turn.
Hey, at least then, after all that work, you are in the clear, right? You’re on Route 571 and nothing can stop you now! Right?
I hate to break this to you.
But unfortunately the road is closed at Route 571 immediately after Route 527/Whitesville Road, all the way to Commonwealth Boulevard in Manchester.
At this point, if you give up trying to get where you wanted to go, I don’t blame you.
Here is a handy Google map I made of the detour. It's a total 8.63 miles through some of the most heavily trafficked intersections in Toms River.