Codey launches new project to ease Parkway congestion
- Acting Governor Richard J. Codey today launched an initiative
to ease traffic congestion by widening a 17-mile stretch of the
Garden State Parkway running through Ocean County.
The project will add a 12-foot-wide travel lane and a 12-foot-wide shoulder on both the northbound and southbound sides of the Parkway, from Interchange 63 to Interchange 80. It will also include the addition of one-way tolling and Express E-ZPass at the Barnegat Toll Plaza.
"For 10 years people have talked about doing something to relieve congestion on this part of the Parkway. Plans were made - and put on hold, indefinitely," Codey said. "When this project is complete it will mean easier commutes to work. It will mean easier drives to the Shore. Most important, it will mean less time spent in traffic and more time to enjoy with our families."
Codey directed the New Jersey Turnpike Authority to immediately begin the permit process for the project. The total cost is estimated at $135.2 million. Construction should be complete by the summer of 2009.
New Jersey Department of Transportation Commissioner Jack Lettiere, New Jersey Turnpike Authority Chairman Joseph Simunovich, and New Jersey Turnpike Authority Executive Director Michael Lapolla joined Codey for the announcement today, held at the Executive Offices of the Turnpike Authority's Garden State Parkway Division, in Woodbridge.
"This is just another step in the continuing modernization of the Garden State Parkway," Lettiere said. "From Cape May to Bergen County, improvements are being installed with one goal in mind: saving motorists' time.
"This is yet another benefit to motorists from the consolidation of the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway," Simunovich said. "With our combined resources we have improved conditions for drivers with the introduction of One-Way Tolls, Express E-ZPass, the announcement of our plan to widen the Turnpike between Interchanges 6 and 8A, and now this plan for the Parkway."
Traffic studies show bumper-to-bumper-traffic is scattered throughout 26 percent of the Parkway in southern New Jersey. Congestion is getting worse - and if nothing is done now, that number is expected to grow to 78 percent by the year 2010.
Codey's announcement today is the latest effort in his commitment to ease the flow of traffic throughout New Jersey.
His previous initiatives include the plan to widen a 20.1-mile stretch of the New Jersey Turnpike, from Interchange 8A in Middlesex County to Interchange 6 in Burlington County.
And they include his commitment to the One-Way Toll program, in which toll plazas are targeted for the removal of tolls in one direction and the addition of Express E-ZPass.
In March, Codey ordered the New Jersey Turnpike Authority to accelerate the addition of one-way tolling and Express E-ZPass at the Garden State Parkway's Essex Toll Plaza. He also directed the Authority to develop a plan for the installation of alternate tolls and Express E-ZPass lanes at the Great Egg, New Gretna and Cape May toll plazas in 2006.