Route 35 is About to Become the Bionic Roadway
Stronger, better, faster ... reminiscent of words we heard in the 70s during the likes of the Six Million Dollar Man TV series but this time we're talking about a roadway with a multi-million dollar reconstruction project that has engineers taking into consideration its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean.
We can expect work to begin this June and last until 2015 on a project to construct a brand new Route 35 that will span the entire stretch of the Northern Barrier Island. Shore area Congressman Chris Smith says the total cost of the project is $200 million with the federal government contributing $76 million of it. He says, "It'll create a very important state-of-the-art roadway that would be better on drainage. So that this is built to sustain future problems a terrible storm or storms in the future."
The work includes wider and safer berms, a much deeper substructure, a newly designed drainage system and a modern pumping system. Plans call for doing the work in 3 to 4 mile segments beginning to the north between the Point Pleasant Beach and Bay Head border. Smith says "this vital infrastructure project will replace what was an aging, antiquated roadway even before Sandy, with a state-of-the-art stretch of highway that is designed to last."
However, there's been criticism from local barrier island officials about construction work of this magnitude taking place at the height of the summer tourism season. Smith says, "the concern is that if we don't do something soon, the degraded roadway could easily be made even worst through any kind of future storm and the sooner we get this done the better."
According to a press release, the funding is part of the United States Department of Transportation's (USDOT) Emergency Relief Program, which is designed to aid the repair and reconstruction of highways that have suffered serious damage as a result of natural disasters. Superstorm Sandy destroyed much of the highway, moving concrete slabs around and obliterating much of the roadway's underground drainage system.
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