TOMS RIVER – With the completion of the Route 9 corridor study and an increase in population growth, Ocean County is undertaking a study to review potential county road network improvements in the northern area of the County.
“We have had some initial meetings with representatives from Lakewood and Jackson townships,” said Ocean County Freeholder John P. Kelly, Director of Law and Public Safety. “Today we are ready to bring on a consultant to perform the study that will provide us with both short term and long term recommendations.”
The recommendations will be used to upgrade Ocean County’s countywide transportation model which was last updated in 2013.
“This is an important tool to help us with future planning when it comes to the county road network,” said Kelly, who is also liaison to the Ocean County Engineering Department.
After reviewing several proposals, Ocean County is expected to choose Stantec Consulting Services with offices in Wall Township to oversee the study.
“Picking a consultant is key to getting this work under way,” Kelly said.
The study will focus on the traffic network in the northern area of the County.
“It’s been determined that an update to the transportation model for the northern municipalities is warranted to reflect new growth patterns,” Kelly said. “This update will be used by the County to update our long term capital improvement program.”
In addition to reviewing all traffic county data currently available from the County, the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority and the state Department of Transportation, the consultant also will look at socioeconomic data, zoning information, planned developments, approved developments, and certificates of occupancy.
“This will be a comprehensive study that addresses growth in the northern section of the County and how it impacts the county road network,” said Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari. “We need to make certain we do whatever we can to provide the best road network possible for motorists and pedestrians.”
A timeline for the study is expected to be established during the county’s first meeting with the consultant.
However, the consultant is expected to begin traffic counts by April.
“Once all this is completed we will have a comprehensive look of not just current conditions but current and future growth patterns,” Kelly said. “This will allow us to determine our best course of future action.”
The consultant will develop forecasts for years 2025 and 2040 based on the traffic counts, the Route 9 corridor study and the updated data collected.
“The study will result in a comprehensive report including a list of action items outlining transportation hot spots,” Kelly said. “The list will be divided into short-term and long-term transportation improvements that will improve the operation of Ocean County’s transportation network within the project townships.”
Kelly noted that while the study is going on the County will continue to implement improvements in the county’s road network.
“This study will help in long range planning,” Kelly said. “In the meantime, the County continues to do infrastructure projects that improve our roads.”
For example, Kelly noted that the County recently went out to bid for two new traffic signals in Lakewood.
The new signals will be constructed at two intersections that currently do not have traffic signals. The intersections are at New Hampshire Avenue and America Avenue and Cedarbridge Avenue and Avenue of the States.
Besides providing for vehicular coordination at these intersections, the intersections will also have full pedestrian accommodations. Construction on the new signals is expected to take place this summer.
“The new signals will help improve traffic flow and safety,” Kelly said.