opens in Freehold Twp.
By linda denicola
FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP — The long-awaited Kozloski Road extension between Route 537 and Route 79 opened Monday. The signs are up, traffic lights are working, and a new, long ramp carries vehicles from Route 537 to the new road.
Assistant Monmouth County Engineer Joseph Ettore said on Friday that work crews would be finalizing a lot of the electric work for the traffic signals over the (Aug. 9-10) weekend, "weather permitting."
He added, "The existing lights will be modified and new ones put up. The one at Dutch Lane Road is new. That will be working on (Aug. 11). The whole new section of Kozloski Road, from Route 537 to Route 79, will be open."
Kozloski Road is named for the late state Assemblyman Walter J. Kozloski of Freehold, who served in the Legislature from 1974-79. Kozloski died in office on Nov. 25, 1979.
Most of the work associated with the Kozloski Road extension was expected to have been completed over the weekend, Ettore said. Some road closings in the area were necessary in conjunction with the work.
Kozloski Road, also known as Monmouth County Route 55, is changing from a "T" intersection to a four-way intersection. Ettore said there will be new traffic patterns for drivers to be aware of — most notably, motorists traveling west on Route 537 (toward Freehold Borough) will no longer be able to make a left turn onto Kozloski Road.
"Before the intersection there is a new ramp, on the westbound side, with a sign indicating how to get onto Kozloski Road south," he said.
V. DiIorio and Son Inc., South Plainfield, has built the $7.5 million, 1.7-mile extension from Route 537 north to Route 79. The cost of the project was covered by the state Transportation Trust Fund.
The new road will improve access to Route 33 and Route 537. It is also expected to lighten the traffic congestion along the parallel East Freehold Road.
The extension will also become part of a route that essentially bypasses a portion of Route 9 in Freehold Township and will allow vehicles heading north on Route 9 from the Howell area to take Halls Mill Road across business Route 33; continue on Kozloski Road all the way to Route 79; and then take East Freehold Road to the point where it meets Route 9 north at Pond Road. There are, however, lights at several locations on Kozloski Road, including Center Street and Burlington Road.
Motorists who take the Halls Mill-Kozloski Road route will bypass the congested stretch of Route 9 in Freehold Township at Elton-Adelphia Road, Three Brooks Road, Schanck Road, Route 33, and Schibanoff Road.
As for the delay in completing the project, Monmouth County Engineer Ted Giannechini explained that the weather (snow and rain) held it up a quite a bit. In addition, he said, last summer, the project was slowed because workers found an area of substandard fill that had to be replaced.