by Phil Stilton
JACKSON-Ocean County’s engineering department is waiting for JCP&L and other utilities to relocate utility poles and lines before the county can finally complete a multi-year project to repave the entire length of East Veterans Highway. The project to repave and add various safety improvements along the stretch of road between Sienna Drive and Whitesville Road is expected to be completed by December.
Aside from repaving the road surface, Ocean County Engineer Frank Scarantino said the county will improve shoulders and drainage issues over the next three months.
CJ Hesse has been awarded the contract for the work at the price of $2,984,941.00. The company was the lowest qualified bidder, approved by the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders in February.
“Once the utilities are moved, we will come right in and finish,” Scarantino said. “We can have our part of the project done 60 days later once they start.”
The project was part of an overall project that saw the road paved between Cross Street and Whitesville Road, with traffic improvements at both Whitesville Road and Hope Chapel Road and safety improvements at the western end of the road.
Near the Jackson Little League fields, towards Bennett’s Mills Road, the county softened or widened the arc at the dangerous curve that was host to several fatalities in the past and added numerous other safety improvements including speed indicators and light at the intersection of Grand Boulevard and Butterfly Road.
Signs warning of construction were placed along the road this week near the Bunker Hill Bogs wildlife management area where the telephone poles will be moved further from the road.
The project, which was in the planning stages for many years, but was given priority in 2011, after a deadly year in 2009 when fatalities along the road reached an all-time yearly high. Fatalities have dropped dramatically since the project began.