The New Jersey Turnpike Authority's project to improve Garden State Parkway Exit 105 will likely begin in late spring or early summer, project engineers announced today.
The plans are part of a proposed $40 million plan to improve traffic flow in the area and improve access to Fort Monmouth as it is developed in the future.
New Jersey Turnpike Authority Project Engineer Maynard Abuan hosted a public hearing for the project at Tinton Falls Borough Hall on Thursday night.
RBA Project Engineer Jim Haselton also spoke and described the improvements of the project, which will consists of two contracts.
The first contract will include the reconstruction of Exit 105 at the intersection of Hope Road and Route 36.
The main improvement at the Hope Road intersection would include a new ramp from the parkway north exit that would run between a neighboring hotel and the park and ride, and empty out onto Hope Road. Hope Road also would be widened north and south of Route 36, with new traffic signals installed.
This would let drivers headed toward Hope Road avoid the Route 36 bottleneck that exists now from cars exiting the parkway and turning right onto Hope Road or taking the jughandle to go on Hope Road north.
Cars headed to Hope Road north would also take this new ramp south of Route 36 and then make a left onto Hope Road at the new light and proceed to cross over Route 36, without having to bother with the jughandle.
From this same area south of Route 36, there would also be a new lane that would take drivers headed toward the Monmouth Mall from Hope Road in Tinton Falls, through the woods and onto Route 36 east, completely avoiding the now-congested intersection of Hope Road and Route 36.
The existing ramps from the parkway south would also be widened and the jughandle would remain.
The second contract will include the construction of a new soutbound connection to Wayside Road and the construction of a second northbound deceleration lane.
"The new connection to Wayside Road is being provided to facilitate access to NJ Route 18 and regional roadways as well as alleviate congestion at the Hope Road/Route 36 intersection," Haselton said
When the new ramp reaches Wayside Road, a traffic light will be placed at the intersection and motorists will be able to make a left or right turn.
Haselton said the northbound deceleration lane is being created to "accommodate existing and proposed traffic volumes and mitigate queuing along the northbound exit ramp to interchange 105."
Haselton said the design phase for the entire project is "wrapping up" and should be completed by late winter or early spring.
He said construction would likely start in late spring or early summer
He said the contracts' start times will be staggered with the Hope Road/Route 36 improvements beginning first with a construction duration of about one year. The Wayside Road connection and deceleration lane wil be started second and construction will likely last for about two years.
Haselton said the roads will be widened to accommodate the increased summer traffic and that construction should take place after "peak hours."
Abuan also spoke about how reforestation will be a major part of the project.
Abuan said the removal of about 8.2 acres of trees will be required for the project.
"The authority is required by law to mitigate the loss of trees in excess of one half acre," Abuan said. "It is the authority's intent that the mitigation take the form of monetary compensation to New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. The NJDEP will be responsible to utilize these monies for tree-planting programs in the affected municipalities."