With a St. Patrick's Day parade set for Saturday, Ocean County motorists are worried about a potential sequel to the recent major gridlock on Route 35, and local officials are working feverishly to make sure it doesn't happen again.

Route 35 in Normandy Beach
Jason Allentoff, Townsquare Media NJ

Route 35 has been under construction ever since Superstorm Sandy hit, leaving one total lane open when thousands tried to leave the Polar Bear Plunge -- all at once -- last weekend. Most vehicles remained at a dead stop in both directions for hours.

While officials believe things will be different for the parade, since not everyone will be leaving at the same time, most local mayors and police departments are taking no chances.

Seaside Heights mayor Bill Akers was stunned at the massive backup. He's been in touch with the state Department of Transportation, and is asking those officials for a couple of concessions.

The biggie? "See if we can get two lanes coming out of Seaside Heights down Hamilton Avenue, up onto (Route) 37 where there is three lanes and then there's three lanes to access the Garden State Parkway," Akers said.

In addition to posting signs, the borough police department will also be placing more men on the street before, during and after the event, according to the mayor.

"The road is too torn up, too congested on a normal drive," Akers said. "We are hoping some of these steps, if approved, will help things move along."

Akers has heard that all lanes of Route 35 will be opened come Memorial Day, three months from now.

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