Office of the Governor
Weinstein Open Newly Reconfigured
Interchange, Formerly Known as the Brielle Circle
Also Announce $13 Million in Local Aid Grants
Transportation in Monmouth and Ocean counties was boosted significantly today when acting Governor Donald T. DiFrancesco and Transportation Commissioner James Weinstein today flipped a switch that initialized the traffic signal system and officially opened the newly reconfigured interchange of routes 34, 35 and 70 in Wall Township.
At the same time, DiFrancesco and Weinstein also announced the award of $13 million in grants for local road projects throughout the state. Included in the grants is $11 million in a second round of funding to municipalities through New Jersey Department of Transportation's (NJDOT) FY2001 Local Aid program. The grants also include $2 million under the Local Aid for Centers of Place program.
The new interchange, which eliminated the Brielle Circle, is part of a larger $23 million project to add a second travel lane to Route 70 in Brick Township, Ocean County. The widening project, extending 4.7 miles from Jack Martin Boulevard in Brick to the old Brielle Circle, is scheduled to finish by July.
"Eliminating congestion is one of my primary concerns when we look to improve our transportation system. Congestion wastes time, money and is just outright frustrating. This former traffic circle, which is the intersection of three major routes in the Shore area, was causing these kinds of problems, especially in the summer when traffic volumes are at their highest," DiFrancesco said. "With so many motorists on the road, we must step up our congestion relief efforts."
The acting Governor said improved infrastructure and congestion relief are also the goals of the grants awarded today for local road improvement projects.
"A transportation system as complex as New Jersey's should not only allow people to move from one part of the state to another, but it should support community objectives by helping to rebuild local roads," DiFrancesco added.
"The NJDOT's Local Aid program accomplishes this by helping to preserve and enhance our local transportation network, especially for future generations of New Jersey residents."
The Brielle Circle has been replaced with a four-approach, signalized intersection with supporting ramps that will afford motorists the ability to move on to any of the roads in all possible directions.
"New Jersey is perhaps the most transportation dependent state in the nation, so it is fitting that we continue to make great strides in renewing and improving upon our diverse transportation system needs," Commissioner Weinstein said.
"Traffic circles were at one time the state-of-the-art solutions to congestion, but that was at a time when there were far fewer vehicles on our roads. The design that satisfied the traffic volumes in the early 1930s is no longer satisfactory for today's traffic. As traffic volumes increased so did the accident rates," Weinstein added. "The Brielle Circle served us well in its day. This new interchange will serve us even better well into the 21st century."
Under the Local Aid awards, Weinstein said that discretionary funding is awarded to those projects that are deemed critical to a municipality or county but do not rate highly enough for formula allocations announced last year. Local Aid for Centers of Place grants are awarded to non-traditional transportation projects that advance the development agenda in municipalities designated as "urban, regional, town or village centers" under the State Development and Redevelopment Plan (SDRP).
Weinstein also noted that municipalities can receive 75 percent of the grant once a construction contract is awarded. The remaining 25 percent is released upon completion of the project. In prior years, a municipality had to pay for the construction first, and then seek reimbursement from the state.