The New Jersey Turnpike Authority's Board of Commissioners has approved construction contracts worth $330.3 million for a project that will restore full-width shoulders and make other safety improvements of a 16-mile stretch roadway in Ocean and Monmouth counties.
The project will start at mile marker marker 99.5. Construction will begin this fall and is scheduled to be completed in 2014.
“There is no better use for our capital dollars than projects like this one that make our roads safer,” Transportation Commissioner James Simpson said in a prepared statement. “When the project is complete, a section of the Parkway with narrow shoulders, narrow travel lanes and a history of accidents will be built to modern design and safety standards. Police, fire and EMS vehicles will be better able to access accident scenes.”
Simpson, who also serves as chairman of the Turnpike Authority Board of Commissioners, said the wider lanes will also give drivers who lose control of their vehicles more room to regain control without striking a tree or going down an embankment.
A 2007 highway safety assessment identified six high-priority areas on the Parkway; four of the areas are in the 16-mile project zone. Between 2000 and 2007, there were 9,000 accidents in the area, including 63 fatal accidents.
In response to the safety assessment, the speed limit was lowered from 65 to 55 mph, a series of interim safety measures was adopted and preliminary engineering on the shoulder-widening project was begun.
“It's great news the engineering and permitting are done and this important project is about to get underway,” Turnpike Authority Commissioner Ray Pocino said. “This project will create jobs and improve safety on the Parkway. It's a smart investment in New Jersey's future.”
The four construction contracts awarded for the project are as follows:
The George Harms Construction Co. Inc. of Howell was awarded a $84.3 million contract to restore the shoulders, reconstruct bridges and make other safety improvements between mile posts 83.5 and 88.5 in Toms River and Lakewood townships. The Harms bid was the lowest of seven submitted.
Midlantic Construction LLC of Barnegat was awarded a $75 million contract to restore the shoulders, reconstruct bridges and make other safety improvements between mileposts 90.5 and 93.5 in Lakewood and Brick townships. Midlantic submitted the lowest of five bids.
Northeast Remsco Construction Inc of Farmingdale was awarded a $100.1 million contract to restore the shoulders, reconstruct bridges and make other safety improvements between mileposts 93.5 and 99.5 in Brick and Wall townships. The company's bid was the lowest of six submitted.
Earle Asphalt Co. of Farmingdale was awarded a $70.1 million contract to restore the shoulders and make other safety improvements between mileposts 88.5 and 90.5 in Lakewood township and to build service roads and interchange ramps at interchange 88 and 89 to provide full access to and from the northbound and southbound Parkway from both interchanges. The company's bid was the lowest of eight submitted.
“Lives will be saved because of this project,” Simpson said.