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Ocean, Monmouth Getting Parkway Safety, Exit Reconstruction Projects Worth $330 Million

Work includes widening shoulders from mile markers 83 to 99

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.

So Much to Say August 25, 2012 at 02:43 AM
@Chu-Man-Fu YUP.....Whatever. A whinner like you is not even on my radar.
Chu-Man-Fu August 25, 2012 at 02:56 AM
Sorry Ed, the problem is with the ecologists and environmentalists. I agree that we can't just go off willy-nilly and do whatever we want and put whatever we want wherever we want nature be damned. There is a delicate balance that needs to be met between man and nature. I have seen however, that nature adapts better to mans needs than man adapts to natures. What was the project that was held up for years and years because someone "thought" they saw an endangered pine snake. Bottom line - let's all work together and find a middle ground that will suit both man and nature. It really is possible ..... I.M.H.O.
Margie McMahon August 25, 2012 at 03:53 AM
Twenty odd comments tell me that none of you are directly impacted by the "widening project" in your daily lives outside of the time you spend in your moving vehicles. The NJTA will once again "thin" further the once dense buffer between "progress" and my front yard, with no concern, no sound barrier, no commitment for replanting, no commitment for road quieting macadem, no fear of angst from my elected State officials. We who live in close proximity to the GSP in the areas of the proposed widening have fought the good fight and apparently lost, but as long as drivers can get to the next traffic light in Brick faster, apparently that is what matters to my fellow Bricktonians.
2much2say August 25, 2012 at 04:14 AM
Chu & so much to say, The police do pull you over into the Yorktown parking lot and will give you a ticket. Trust I've witnessed this several times. You can't see the officers one is standing in the road and two others are in the lot or on the side street, and if you try to pull a fast one by trying to hop in front of someone they will direct you to pull over.
GQ August 25, 2012 at 09:30 AM
This Parkway shoulder restoration and improvement plan has been discussed and in the planning stages for almost three years. There have been numerous articles in the newspapers since September of 2009. I live in Wall Township and have attended two public meetings in Brick Township conducted by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority. The most recent was held on March 15th, 2012 held at the Brick Township Civic Plaza on Chambers Bridge Road. There was a public notice and a newspaper article informing anyone who was interested in this project to attend and see what was planned first hand. There was opportunity to state your views and objections. A detailed map was on view to see the actual plan in detail. Complaining now is too late.
GT August 25, 2012 at 11:35 AM
The New Jersey Turnpike Authority's Board of Commissioners has added several exits and entrance ramps already to aliviate traffic problems. It's my opiniun that the additions are helpful. But sadly they can add as many ramps as they want but that won't change the fact that many of the people using the GSP just can't drive and refuse to stay right when not passing, they talk on the cell phone and text while driving and plainly have no clue of whats going on around them. These folks are the main cause of the problem. I have 30 yrs experience driving the GSP and do just fine as long as I can get around these folks driving in La La land. The ones on the phone who realize at the last second their exit is coming up and they pull the 3 lane change across heavy traffic cause their not pauing attention. These added projects will help the compident drivers, the rest of the knuckle heads will still be a danger to us all. At 55mph 0r 75 mph. They should all stay home or take a bus !!!
Sue August 25, 2012 at 12:07 PM
A politician or a big campaign donor must live on Church or Todd, where a traffic signal is being installed. Why is that a priority, with all the other sorely needed work to alleviate congestion?
Martin August 25, 2012 at 12:13 PM
If WalMart can donate substitute wetlands in order to build on Rt. 37, why can't the politicians do the same to alleviate daily traffic jams with an extension of Fischer to North Bay and Church? If politicians can add a runway at Miller Airpark in the (protected) Pine Barrens for their fly-boy campaign donors, why can't they do something for the 99% of us who drive to work?
George August 25, 2012 at 12:16 PM
Good! Sock it to those cowboys, and put the fines in Brick's treasury.
Tony1493 August 25, 2012 at 04:25 PM
Some of these access and connector improvements should have been done 10-15 years ago when they were making upgrades and it was cheaper to do then. Follow the money?
Margie McMahon August 25, 2012 at 05:02 PM
Thank you for your comment Gale, I attended both meetings, spoke on behalf of 26 of my neighbors who signed a petition that previously was sent to the NJTA and to our then State Senator's office, sorry we did not get to meet at either meeting. I have read all the press on the issue, corresponsed with the Editor of the Patch who gratiously covered the story, responded to the intial letter I and all contiguous property owners entitled to notice received when this project was in its early planning stages, so I and my neighbors have stated our views and objections. I assume you don't live contiguous to the planned widening project locations, or if you do, its never to late to stop the noise. If you don't live within close proximity, you are not affected so your comment is understandablel
Margie McMahon August 25, 2012 at 05:14 PM
Gale, I was remiss in not also mentioning that John Ducci, newly elected to the Brick Council , you may recall from your seat in the audience, also spoke at one of the public meetings at my request, thank you again John for your voice. He specifically mentioned my street and my neighbors and another of my neighbors spoke and submitted pictures she took from her back door in the Summer of last year when the remaining tree buffer is at its fullest, that still allowed her to read the signage clearly on vehicles speeding down the GSP within a short distance of her property line. She and I and others have lived on this street for more years then we care to admit, so we fondly remember not seeing the GSP, as the now desimated forest concealed the noise and the view of the traffic and sheilded us from the exhausts and the disabled motorists knocking on our back doors to use our telephones. Just thought you would like to know what we have done and why it remains on our radar, even if those not so directly affected smay hare your view that it "is too late", a perhaps reasonable positon due to lack of personal impact, but disheartening non the less.
GQ August 25, 2012 at 07:23 PM
Margie, I wasn't referring to your comment, but to the ranting and ravings of some of the opinions about crazy drivers and the need for additional ramps and traffic on roads near the parkway which are dangerous. The Parkway is my neighbor. I live right next to the Parkway near exit 98 and have lived next to the Parkway for more than 38 years. I just wanted to make the point that meetings were held and if people want to complain, they should do what You, your neighbors and I did before the actual project is set to be held. I actually wrote letters to the editor opposing clear-cutting when I observed the widening project south between exits 80 and 62. I, also, wrote letters to the DEP about the possible disturbance to vital water sheds in my area. Your comment was right on topic. Most of the others were not. I am sorry if I offended you with my comment. I understand what you are facing.
Margie McMahon August 25, 2012 at 07:48 PM
Gail, clarification is a wonderful thing, and please accept my apology in mistakenly concluding you were responding to my comment that followed mine. I commend you on your efforts and I want to tell you that Dan Nee also advised me some time ago that the Ocean County Freeholders has been made aware of resident concerns on the project, do you know anything about that governing body taking a position in writing with the NJTA.
GQ August 25, 2012 at 09:01 PM
Sorry Margie, Since I live in Monmouth County, I rarely follow what is happening with the Ocean County Freeholders. If the situation becomes too intolerable, maybe you and your neighbors should fight for sound barriers. I don't really know if this is an option. I'm sitting not far from an exit ramp and am trying to keep informed.
Margie McMahon August 25, 2012 at 11:13 PM
Good luck to you Gale, we have been contacting anyone who will listen but to date,NJTA has made no commitment to elevate property owner's rights to the quiet and safe enjoyment of their residences to a place of importance, some lip service so far, but nothing to reliable. No one has the financial means to mount any real fight or to even explore if there is a fight to be won, we were not even noticed when a so called sound study was allegedly done for our area that of course indicates that the noise level that wakes you from a sound sleep at 3am when the motorcyclists roar up GSP North, is within normal acceptable limits. If I hear anything positive for all of us including those in Monmouth and south of me in Toms River, I will let you and The Patch readers know.
Wayne Basilotto February 26, 2013 at 05:01 PM
Hi Margie my property backs to the Parkway in Brick exit 91,they are in my back yard.I attended the few meetings they had and asked about them purchasing properties on the road since they would be soooo close their response was they could come up to 10 foot of my house if they so desired.Then I asked about sound walls since the sound level came in so high they responded it wouldn't be cost effective for the amount of houses it would benefit.I don't think they care too much for the property owners in the surrounding area. Wayne
Michele Spector April 18, 2013 at 04:23 AM
I live within 500 feet of parkway. The center median trees have been cut away. It sounds like a raceway and my bedroom faces the traffic. My house shakes when large trucks go by. It use to be that traffic died down, but now there are north and southbound lanes of 24/7 traffic. They refuse to do anything for us either. I asked who they were accountable to, and they said no one. They have complete carte blanche and no one can stop them. It's disgusting. We have a lawyer fighting for the past 2 1/2 yrs before project began. We have had no luck getting a wall. Although one of the OC engineers informed me that Cherry Wood Farms in brick is getting something done for them.
Barbara Rocco April 19, 2013 at 05:56 PM
we will definitely agree with you. We back up to the parkway as well and now we have louder 24/7 noise. Something must be done!!
Margie McMahon April 20, 2013 at 04:06 AM
Recently I was favored with confirmation that replanting projects along the GSP have already been approved, but not for the area where I live. I am writing again to obtain the criteria used to determine what home owners quiet enjoyment is worth replanting a natural sound buffer and whose is not. I encourage anyone so affected to look into the replanting as anything at this point will help.
Margie McMahon April 20, 2013 at 04:08 AM
Hi Wayne, look into the replanting they have preapproved for some and not for others, I am writing again to try to at least get replanting done near my street, good luck.
Margie McMahon April 20, 2013 at 04:11 AM
Hi Michele, can you share with me what you are doing to keep up the need for sound and sight barriers, as I posted the replanting has been approved but not at milepost 91 where I am . Look into it and where is Cherry Wood Farms located (milepost ?) as they may be the area already approved for replanting. Wishing you some relief from the nooooooise.
Michele Spector April 20, 2013 at 10:43 PM
I believe the replanting will be in the form of Charlie brownlike trees and nothing can replace the 30 year old trees stripped away. As far as I know, from Rob, an Ocean County engineer I spoke with, only Cherry Wood Farms condos (expensive condos) are getting something. I live in Evergreen Woods condos a little bit north of Cherry Wood Condos on the southbound side. I am right behind the sign that says Exit 91. Not sure what mile marker that is. They are actually 3-4 times the distance away from the parkway as we are and yet they are getting something. Our lawyer has tried for years to get something done for us. The latest is that nothing is being done for us. I heard back from a journalist who wanted to do our story, but then never got back to me. I have spoken with the gov's office, two OC engineers, two idiots at the Highway Authority, our Mayor's office, our Senator, our Condo Lawyer, and even the DOT commissioner's office. Nothing is getting done. I think it is up to us to be greasy wheels. If all of bricktown got together to protest at a town council meeting and threatened to have their homes reaccessed to pay less taxes, then...something might get done.
Margie McMahon April 21, 2013 at 01:50 AM
I have gone the same route, with no success either. Recently obtained a new lead to write to so anyone upset with the stripping of the trees send a letter to Robert Fischer, Assistant Chief Engineer-Design, NJ Turnpike Authority, 581 Main St., Woodbridge, NJ 07095. Please share any response and I will do the same as I wrote to him last week.
Mac April 21, 2013 at 12:32 PM
This page is rapidly turning into a Patch comic strip. If there is anyone in Ocean County who is truly still hallucinating about our Governor, Senators, Assemblypersons, and/or DOT leadership being alarmed or concerned about the pattern of our fading quality of life, then by all means keep blindly voting Republican. County and local officials can do no more than you and I in this case. If you are paying an attorney to help overcome this political apathy, you are squandering your money. This deal has been signed, sealed and delivered to the political contractors on schedule and your attorneys along with the two idiots from the Turnpike know you have a better chance of winning the lottery than overcoming the cash-flow lifeline of the well-heeled financiers of our Governor, Senators, Assemblypersons, and assorted power players who feed handsomely off of your toll money, fees and taxes. The Highway Authority showed some concern for its customers but the Turnpike Authority couldn’t care less about you. When the Turnpike doubled your tolls they told you to use Route 1 if you didn’t like the way they ran their road. On the Parkway, I guess that would mean Route 9. And now that they are coming into your backyard, the only undaunted advice they have for you is ‘to move’ if you don’t like how they bulldoze. Of course, you could overcome this political indifference quite easily by simply moving into Cherry Wood Farms condos. You know the position.
Michele Spector April 23, 2013 at 12:44 AM
Here is my link on facebook for comments on the bulldozing, noise, pollution, devalued properties, etc. as a result of the parkway widening: https://www.facebook.com/SoundBarrierWallForEvergreen
Michele Spector April 23, 2013 at 12:47 AM
I know I spoke to an engineer at the Highway Authority, I don't think I got any kind of satisfaction from that. I am meeting with the Brick Senator's chief of staff with some residents in our community on May 1st. Here is my link with videos of the reality of our neighborhood now. https://www.facebook.com/SoundBarrierWallForEvergreen
Michele Spector April 24, 2013 at 01:30 AM
According to the minutes I read from that meeting, after everyone made their objections known, they Highway Authority informed everyone that because they are putting in special pavement which cuts the decibel level (albeit slightly) and; because they are not adding in a lane, but merely putting the shoulder back in, it does not qualify for a barrier wall. What they didn't say was that they did add a lane a few years back by using the shoulder. Putting the shoulder back in, after the fact, does not mean that a lane wasn't added in. See what it means for Evergreen Woods Condo Community who have tried to get some kind of noise mitigation 2 1/2 years before this happened and have been denied. https://www.facebook.com/SoundBarrierWallForEvergreen?ref=hl
Michele Spector April 25, 2013 at 02:28 AM
I am meeting with Sen. Holzapfel's chief of staff with some neighbors from Evergreen Woods on May 1st at 10 am. his legislative office on 852 highway 70. I am bringing video I shot highlighting what it is like for us, which I have been posting on a special facebook page. I am collecting signatures now. Please feel free to post any pics, videos, or comments on the page: https://www.facebook.com/SoundBarrierWallForEvergreen?ref=tn_tnmn I need to get the name of the project, Environmental Impact Statement, Scope of the Job, Specifications for bid, and any considerations for light and sound pollution and air quality. I got the name of a Brick engineer. I will post results on the facebook page.
Michele Spector April 27, 2013 at 03:48 AM
I just found out from someone in Brick municipal complex that they cut sooo many more trees then they were supposed to. Because of this screw up they have proposed some new plans to fix this. We are having meeting at Evergreen Woods assn tuesday night, May 30th. I will have to confirm it is definitely on. I was also told that our lawyer has what they are proposing to do. I believe Senator Holzapfel's office does too. We are meeting him on May 1st. After I meet with his chief of staff I am meeting the archivist at the Brick Municipal to look at the project plans. I'll let you know how that goes.

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