Plans for Rt. 9 bridge

project being finalized

Plans for Rt. 9 bridge

project being finalized

Get ready because here they come again — more road improvements. The state Department of Transpor-tation (DOT) is planning a project that will replace the Route 9 bridge that crosses over Route 522, Freehold Township.

Plans call for the work on the new bridge and access ramps to be completed in stages in order to minimize the disruption of the normal flow of traffic.

The need to replace the existing bridge, which was built in 1937, is caused by conditions that do not meet current standards, according to DOT spokesman Marc Lavorgna. The bridge is on a crest vertical curve which in combination with the absence of shoulders or acceleration-deceleration lanes and substandard ramp configura­tions creates conditions which makes the bridge’s replacement necessary, according to the DOT.

Lavorgna said plans call for the con­struction of a new bridge with three 12-foot-wide lanes, acceleration-deceleration lanes and 10-foot shoulders in each direc­tion. The existing bridge has two 10-foot wide travel lanes in each direction with no shoulders. The new bridge will be bi­cycle/pedestrian compatible.

Freehold Borough officials passed a resolution on April 21 endorsing the pro­ject, which is expected to begin later this year. According to the resolution, various detour plans have been developed to di­vert traffic while ramps are being con­structed. Some of those detours include roads in the borough.

According to a Feb. 13, 2003 document from DOT project manager Robert Verner to Borough Administrator Joseph Bellina, the following provisions will be used on the project to mitigate the traffic impact within the borough. The provisions mentioned in 2003 remain the same at this point in time, according to Lavorgna.

"On or about" advisory signs will be incorporated into the signs for the detour; variable message signs will be provided at the southern and northern limits of the project on Route 9 to notify motorists of impending construction activities; police traffic directors will be used at the inter­section of Main Street and Route 522 (Throckmorton Street) during the a.m. or p.m. peak hours; and pertinent project in­formation including the proposed detours, will be furnished on the DOT’s Internet Web site in advance of the detour imple­mentation.

The DOT also plans to issue a state­ment and contact local radio stations and cable television stations to notify the pub­lic of the proposed detours.

Borough officials have met with the DOT to discuss the detour route and have come up with a plan that will not shut down Route 9 dur­ing the course of construction. In addi­tion, no main line traffic is to be diverted onto area highways.

The plan calls for only the ramp traffic from Route 9 northbound on to Route 522 and from Route 9 southbound on to Route 522 to be diverted. The proposal states that Route 522 westbound to Route 9 northbound and Route 522 eastbound to Route 9 southbound, will always stay open to traffic and only one ramp at a time will be closed.

According to the document, officials also discussed the issue of sending detoured traffic through the intersection of Throckmorton and West Main streets in the borough.

There was talk of painting a left turn lane on West Main Street approaching Throckmorton Street, and that this traffic diversion may require police officers to control the traffic during peak periods.

Bellina said officials are hoping that motorists who are heading south on Route 9 will leave the highway before they reach the construction zone between Schibanoff Lane and Route 33 and find an alternate way of coming back to Route 522 or the highway south of the project area.

— Clare Marie Celano