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Loss Of Boardwalk Poses Safety Issues Along Ocean Ave.

Long Branch may add barriers to separate traffic from pedestrians who are using roadway for recreational activities

Long Branch officials are worried that the loss of the boardwalk along Ocean Avenue due to Hurricane Sandy will impact the safety of pedestrians along the street, especially during the busier summer months.

Long Branch Business Administrator Howard Woolley said people who normally ran or walked on the boardwalk are now using the roadway, and that safety is now an issue.

"They have chosen to walk in the roadway and we think this is a very unsafe condition and we have started to look at it," Woolley said

Long Branch Police Lt. Craig Spencer gave a presentation on a proposed, temporary change to the traffic pattern on Ocean Avenue and the installation of Jersey barriers to separate pedestrians and drivers.

"We felt the easiest thing to do would be to close the easterly portion of the roadway to vehicular traffic and make the westerly portion of the road through Morris and South Bath one way southbound and make South Bath one way westbound," Woolley said.

He said the decision to go southbound only for vehicular traffic and close off the northbound side would eliminate some parking spaces. However, he said the southbound lane is needed as an access point for residents who live in apartments on Ocean Avenue.

Spencer said the Jersey barriers are usually made of concrete, but Spencer said the hollow polyethylene barriers would be more appropriate because they are used for temporary parking patterns and are more portable and can be stored and used again.

Spencer said when they are unfilled they weigh 60 pounds and can be filled with water or sand. They are 36 inches high and its comes in 5-foot sections that can be connected to create a barrier between traffic and pedestrians.

Woolley said the city is looking to get shorter barriers as well.

Spencer said the barriers would start at the south end of Pier Village at Melrose Terrace and go down to South Bath Avenue. He said gaps would be left in the barriers so people could enter the east side of the road.

The barriers would cost the city $144,000, Spencer said.

Long Branch Sgt. Charles Shirley said the cost of the barriers will be submitted to FEMA as an emergency protective measure so the city can be reimbursed 75 percent of their cost.

Woolley said the city can also look into renting the barriers, as it could be cheaper. FEMA would also reimburse the city if it rented the barriers.

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