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Route 35 Improvement Project Raises Eyebrows As It Evolves

Plan could include eminent domain takings

Some residents of Brick's barrier island section are concerned that a planned improvement project for state Route 35 could hamper their quality of life.

The state Department of Transportation has long planned an improvement project – effectively a resurfacing – of Route 35 from Point Pleasant Beach to Seaside Park, with Brick's section included as part of a three-phase plan.

But the scope of the project may recently have changed, some residents and officials have said, leading to some concerns.

Township Business Administrator Scott Pezarras said what was once a plan to resurface the state highway in one direction has evolved to become a full-scale resurfacing of both directions which may include curbs, sidewalks and new crowns of the roadway to help alleviate drainage issues.

But the improvements could come with a price. Specifically, the state has indicated it may need to use the power of eminent domain to take certain spaces adjacent to the highway, including locations where some residents park.

"People are parking off the roads on the grass," said Cummings St. resident John Kane. "As part of the improvement, they're going to put curbs in. That parking is going to be lost."

Additionally, Pezarras said, many residents have "infrastructure" within the state-owned right-of-way along the road, including flower beds, post rail fences and gardens. Those would all be removed as part of the improvement project,

"They wanted to properly notify the people that they would be taking all that down before they start the improvements," said Pezarras, adding that state surveyors were out recently taking an inventory.

Pezarras said no timeline has been set on when, exactly, Brick's portion of the Route 35 project would commence. The project will come with some benefits, however, including improved drainage in the area since the curbs and crowns may prevent rainwater and tidewater from overflowing onto residential properties.

Sean Conneamhe August 29, 2012 at 10:25 AM
"Constructing curbs, sidewalks, and drainage improvements on a major state highway, which cuts through high-density, heavily-pedestrian neighborhoods, will promote public health and safety as good planning should do. "Eliminating illegal parking in the Route 35 right-of-way will help prevent accidents as well as saving the lives of the many people, especially children, who walk, run, and bicycle every day on the highway shoulder. "Brick Township should be grateful that the State of New Jersey will be funding and constructing these much-needed improvements."
Reality August 29, 2012 at 12:05 PM
Mr. Pezarras-Brick Township currently pays its crossing guards during the summer months to work the pedestrian crosswalks. Here is a no brainer for you. Now is the time to ask the state to put in traffic lights at these locations. According to The Ocean Star, that is exactly what Mantoloking has done. It will be a cost savings to Brick taxpayers as we will no longer need to pay a crossing guard. But most importantly, it will provide a safe way for all pedestrians to cross at all hours throughout the year. Currently, the crossing guards are only posted on "beach" days during those hours.
bayboat August 29, 2012 at 01:06 PM
Bad idea...there would be a traffic light every other block
Betty Ann August 29, 2012 at 02:01 PM
@ Sean & Reality: you are both absolutely correct. In addition, it is nearly impossible to paint crossing lines at every street near the Brick beaches I & 111. Scott nailed it by saying, "... many residents have "infrastructure" within the state-owned right-of-way along the road, including flower beds, post rail fences and gardens. Those would all be removed as part of the improvement project". This is exactly part of the problem that has existed for decades in this area. It is extremely dificult to pull out of these streets without the caution of strollers, bikers, walkers & people with their pets. Vehicles parked on the "grass" block vision of oncoming traffic and people who are looking for a safe place to jog or all of the above. As for flower beds, split-rail fencing and very old shrubs that are now looking like trees entwined in the power lines, this is not their property to begin with!! There are crossing guards at the Brick Beaches paid by Brick Twp during the summer only. A traffic light in the area of the firehouse has been in the works for a few year's. Yes, this project will improve the safety in the areas; and NO, Mantoloking does not allow parking on the blacktop anywhere in their town on Rt 35, contrary to a comment made at the Council meeting.
Scott Upmal August 29, 2012 at 03:43 PM
Yeah... just what we need... more traffic lights...
Gary Therien August 29, 2012 at 05:36 PM
Yea, more lights that will eventually have red light cameras to scam more money from us.
Betty Ann August 29, 2012 at 06:20 PM
Gary, there are only a few cameras in the town that I know of. If I'm not speading I have nothing to worry about. The concept on the Barrier Island I believe is, that an additional light will slow down the speading that begins when the highway splits. I don't believe it will turn into the concept that is in Lavallette.
Betty Ann August 29, 2012 at 06:21 PM
woopps... before someone corrects me... I meant "speeding" sorry for the spelling error in advance.
john August 30, 2012 at 02:43 AM
this is the best thing to do for that area. The road is trashed, cars parked everywhere. Rip out all of their landscaping, put in some sidewalks and curbs and pave that terrible road. And if anyone complains then charge them for the removal and disposal of their trees,flowers,fences that they put on STATE PROPERTY.
ROSE August 30, 2012 at 04:48 AM
It really does need to be repaved especially in South Mantoloking heading south it is like being on a rollar coaster. In Toms River by the court house they have yellow lights in the pavement for the crosswalks that light up when someone steps there. It makes it much easier to see people walking. They should do it along rte 35 you can barely see people walking at night.
DT August 30, 2012 at 12:54 PM
This is a great idea.
Betty Ann August 30, 2012 at 03:00 PM
it is my opinion, and I'm sure I'll be corrected if I'm wrong, is that the paving by the DOT (NOT BRICK) is part of the 3 phases in this area. I surely hope it is. The paving at the southern end of Normandy Beach where Toms River Twp begins, has already started to get done. By the WAWA traffic light on South #35 is already done, and the ride is much better and smoothe. But, we have to remember that the DOT, DEP, CAFRA etc, all work at a different speed than we'd like them to. All in all, I'm glad that something will be done in the entire Brick area of #35 within the next few year's.
Betty Ann August 30, 2012 at 03:03 PM
Rose, roller coaster is an excellent term. The yellow lights on the crosswolks in Toms River were not brought up at last week's Council meeting. Great idea, but I'm sure costs more $$ than already alloted for this entire project. Thanks :)

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