Freeholders support road work

Projects ranging from an expanded Garden State Parkway interchange to repavings and storm drain improvements will be funded by seven ordinances introduced by the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders.

The ordinances, totaling $18.97 million, include $590,000 for the "scoping" of an upgraded parkway interchange 91 in Brick Township. The scoping money, which will be fully refunded by the federal government, will allow the county to study options for upgrading the interchange with full northbound and southbound access, said Ocean County Engineer Ronald A. Lotrecchio.

Preliminary plans also include improvements to county roads and intersections surrounding the interchange, he said.

"This is the first step," Lotrecchio said. "We will see a full interchange with fewer delays, but as the scoping continues, we may need to modify some of the details."

Freeholder Director James F. Lacey said exit 91 is one of the most heavily used parkway interchanges in Ocean County.

"Thousands of motorists depend on this interchange to get to work every day," he said. "Once these improvements are completed, motorists in the northern part of the county can expect improved access to the Garden State Parkway."

Construction would be funded both by the parkway and the county, with the county’s expected $5 million portion eligible for federal funding, Lotrecchio said. Work on the interchange is expected to be completed in about five years.

Other funding ordinances introduced by the freeholders include:

• Bennetts Mills Road improvements between County Line Road and Manhat-tan Street in Jackson. The $8.4 million project, funded by bonds, should be under way by the spring of 2005, Lotrecchio said.

• A $2 million bonding ordinance for the second phase of improvements to Route 526 between Bennetts Mills and Jackson Mills roads in Jackson. The work extends four lanes and a grass median north along the road. The three-phase project is expected to cost $15 million and be completed by 2008.

• A $4 million bond ordinance for the reconstruction of Route 528 between Route 9 and Gudz Road in Lakewood. Work will begin next spring and include improved shoulders and storm drainage.

• A $980,000 appropriation from the county’s capital improvement fund for the designs of three new road projects. Included are: $400,000 for East County Line Road between Lanes Mills Road and the railroad crossing in Lakewood; $200,000 for drainage upgrades along South Lakeside Drive in Lacey Township; and $380,000 for the reconstruction of Adamston Road in Brick.

The freeholders will allocate $3 million in two separate bond ordinances for reconstruction and resurfacing of various roads and the acquisition of rights of way and easements for road projects throughout the county.