GSP Widening Issues Continue
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Noise and quality of life issues continue to plague residents in communities that border the Garden State Parkway in Monmouth and Ocean Counties as a massive roadway widening project continues. On WOBM-AM's Townsquare Tonight, residents of the Evergreen Woods community in Brick Township believe that the source of their problems are a result of basins that are required by the New Jersey State Department of Environmental Protection to gather storm water run off.
As a result of the basins, plans called for the clearing of thousands of trees and dense brush along the environmentally sensitive stretch of roadway. However, many residents said that the tree clearing has left unhealthy noise levels, light pollution, safety concerns and even flooding on the Parkway.
Resident Stephen Brill said he had the noise levels tested by the Ocean County Health Department "and it exceeds the standards for health," said Brill. "It goes up to 74 decibels and when the motorcycles go by it approaches 90 decibels."
NJDEP Supervising Environmental Engineer Vince Mazzei the basins are required in all projects of this size in the state. He said the soil and vegetation could not have handled the additional run-off from all the extra pavement.
"So it actually should if anything, result in an improvement in drainage in this vicinity because right now there's no storm water system at all. Run off from the roadway just runs off into the bushes," said Mazzei.
However, even after bringing up the issue of noise along the Parkway, Brill said after reading the findings to NJ Turnpike Authority Officials in Woodbridge twice, nothing's been said. However, in past new stories NJTA officials did say they expect noise levels to be greatly reduced when the new pavement is placed down. They said they're using "Quiet Pave" which is designed to absorb the noise. They also added what amounts to soil dunes, several feet high, along the roadside as well.
Brick Mayor John Ducey said even before the Evergreen Woods residents voiced concerns, three years ago, the NJTA held a meeting about the Project at the Civic Center where residents of Birchwood Park expressed concerns and demanded a sound wall. He said then, he proposed using a "No Net Loss" grant given them to buy and plant trees to plant a buffer along the parameter of the Evergreen Woods community. However, Ducey said that idea was shot down by State Attorney General's Office because the grant money could not be used to plant trees on private land.
Evergreen Woods residents, Michele Spector and Bob Filipczak also joined the conversation. The residents remain resolute in finding a way to improve their quality of life.