UPPER FREEHOLD: County taking over dangerous roadway

By Vic Monaco, Managing Editor
   UPPER FREEHOLD — A long-discussed plan for Monmouth County to take control of and improve a dangerous section of Sharon Station Road has come to fruition.
   Mayor Steve Alexander and Freeholder Director Barbara McMorrow have announced the signing of an agreement under which the county assumes jurisdiction along 1½ miles of Sharon Station Road. In exchange, Upper Freehold assumes jurisdiction for about 1½ miles of Davis Station Road (county Route 43) and Burlington Path (county Route 27). The county’s jurisdiction of Sharon Station Road extends from Allentown-Red Valley Road (county Route 526) to Trenton-Forked River Road (county Route 539). Upper Freehold’s jurisdiction includes Davis Station Road between Trenton-Forked River Road (county Route 539) and the Jersey Central Power and Light right of way, and Burlington Path between Trenton-Forked River Road (County Route 539) and Meirs Road.
   The design of the Sharon Station Road improvements will be included in the county’s 2010 Capital Improvement Plan. The county has agreed to advance a design and reconstruction of Sharon Station Road with a boulevard-style concept, which will incorporate a roadway corridor section consisting of one 12-foot travel lane and one 8-foot shoulder in each direction. The improvements also include a landscaped, grass center median and dedicated left-turn lanes or access at local streets.
   The project also will include expansion and replacement of three small county bridges along Sharon Station Road.
   ”We are pleased that this project is as important to Monmouth County as it is to those of us who live in Upper Freehold and travel along Sharon Station Road,” Mayor Alexander said in a press release.
   ”We have always felt that if the road was in better condition it will reduce the noise and make it safer for people in the neighborhood,” he added.
   ”This is an example of how the county will work with municipalities in a way that truly benefits our residents,” Ms. McMorrow said in the release. “The people of Upper Freehold have waited a long time for this project to come to fruition and I think they will be happy with the results. The plan is not only aesthetically pleasing, but it will promote safety along that particular stretch of roadway.”
   Mayor Alexander and Freeholder McMorrow praised the work of County Engineer Joseph Ettore, who has kept the project moving for a number of years. The county engineer’s office designed the boulevard concept.
   State police previously said that between January and May 2009, there were 36 accidents in the township, with 13 of them occurring on Sharon Station Road.
   On June 22, Sharon Station Road was the site of a two-vehicle crash that claimed the life of township resident Christine M. Squires, 44. The site of the accident is within the area being taken over by the county, according to Monmouth County spokesman Bill Heine.
    In the fall, the township received a $160,000 state grant to repave about a mile of Sharon Station Road between Route 524 and Hluchy Road, a portion remaining under local control. That project is scheduled to take place during the first half of 2010.