Route 35 Construction Pushed Back To Avoid Summer Delays
An unwanted hassle during your next trip to the shore is being removed.
The New Jersey Department of Transportation is changing the order of its $215 million Route 35 reconstruction project to allow the roads to remain clearer during the summer season.
The original project called for the 12.5 mile stretch of road from Mantoloking to Ortley Beach, which took significant damage from Sandy, to be completely rebuilt, starting this summer.
Instead of rebuilding in half mile increments to try and reduce delays, the D.O.T. announced they will instead begin the project with work on pumps and drainage improvements along the side of the road.
"That allows us to keep any traffic impacts away from route 35 until after Labor Day," Says D.O.T. spokesman Joe Dee, who notes the drainage and pump projects will be done on side streets.
The project drew criticism from mayors along communities on Route 35, including Mantoloking and Point Pleasant, who felt the construction would just add another layer of difficulty for them during in the crucial first summer season after Sandy.
Route 35, which runs as only a single or double lane through much of the stretch, is one of the busiest roads during the summer time; second only to the Parkway for shore visitors. The road already is notorious for backups during days where beach-goers come out in force.
Dee says while the project is getting rearranged, it's timeline remains the same.
"We're doing the same project, we're getting started at the same time. It's just a slightly different sequence of events."
He adds the project is still expected to be completed by Memorial Day 2014.
Parts of the highway were obliterated by the storm.
The worst damage occurred where Route 35 met the Mantoloking bridge. That area was washed away when the storm surge cut a channel between the ocean and Barnegat Bay, necessitating the largest emergency construction project in New Jersey's history to fill it in and repair the damage.