A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Route 35 Improvement Project in Full Swing

The long-awaited road improvement project on Route 35 in Aberdeen Township and Old Bridge Township has been underway for over a year now. New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJ DOT) issued a press release in March 2013 announcing its imminent start, but it didn't specify when it would end nor did it describe the full extent of the project.

All I can say is that the project is in full swing. Cliffwood Avenue and Amboy Avenue intersections are the focus of attention at the moment, with new curbs installed, sidewalks torn up and being replaced, new storm drains and pipe installed, and new traffic lights hanging over the intersection but not yet operating. The school crossing guards must be having the devil of a time getting the kids safely across the intersection with the sidewalks gone.

Route 35 northbound commuter traffic is backed up most weekday mornings through Keyport due to a right-lane closure, which forces traffic to merge into a single lane at Prospect Avenue just east of Wendy's. Lots of traffic cones, barriers, flashing lights, etc, make it hard to find your way if you need to turn at Amboy or Cliffwood Avenue. I imagine the evening commute is just as messy southbound through Laurence Harbor. Lucky for me, I ride the train and have no children currently in school.

I've avoided Route 35 north of Cliffwood Avenue for the duration of the construction, so I don't know exactly how far they've gotten with raising the road surface and adding culverts under the roadway in the notorious flood plain at the county border. But I can say the stack of concrete culverts and pipe they piled at the corner of Route 35 and Cliffwood Avenue, where Burlew's Pizzeria used to stand, has all been used up and different supplies are now sitting there. It will be great when the mounds of tarp-covered materials are gone and the gateway to Cliffwood Beach can begin to look less like a war zone.

I'm anxious to see exactly what they plan to do with the north side of Route 35 at Cliffwood Avenue, where the traffic gets snarled every morning during the morning rush. They tore down Burlew's and Moore's Bar, presumably to make room for some aspect of this project, so they have plenty of land to develop a better intersection there. They've not started adding curbs on that side of the highway, so it is hard to say what is shaping up. They're doing the curb work on the south side of Route 35 at Amboy Avenue, across from McDonald's. I'm optimistic that vehicles exiting Route 35 North at Cliffwood Avenue will be able to make their way without a struggle, but we have no details on the state's intentions for the intersection so far.

I have to say it's amazing how long it takes for such an endeavor to get started. I first reported on the impending project in this blog four years ago this week, but planning had been underway since at least 2006.

As for when the roadwork will be completed, I expect the bulk of the project will be done by the end of summer. The state initially budgeted through FY 2013 for this project, I believe, so presumably they are already late getting this done.

If someone knows more details or can refer me to a website with the information I'm seeking on the project, please be in touch.


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