Members of a group representing senior villages in Manchester are among the growing number of voices calling for the state to investigate safety on Route 70.
Members of the Manchester Coordinating Council said during a recent meeting that they would like the New Jersey Department of Transportation to consider making improvements to the state highway, said Township Council member Samuel Fusaro Monday. The portion of Route 70 through Manchester, which is two lanes, has seen numerous crashes — some fatal — in recent years.
"I suggested that they go back to each of their villages, and if their residents are in favor of it, to send a letter to both the DOT and [10th Legislative District Sen. Jim Holzapfel] who is championing it for the township as well, urging the state to get involved," Fusaro said.
The Township Council has repeatedly asked for state help with the roadway. In April, members passed a resolution asking for help from New Jersey officials following a string of crashes on the highway.
Last month, Council Vice President Brendan Weiner said that he had spoken with Holzapfel to see if he, a representative of Manchester and Lakehurst, could offer assistance.
Around that same time, the family of an Ocean County Prosecutor's Office Detective killed last year in a crash on Route 70 in Southampton called on the Pinelands Commission to adapt its Comprehensive Management Plan to enhance safety on the highway. Local law enforcement officials also urged for action to be taken.
Fusaro said Monday that, in addition to the individual letters from the villages, the MCC should send its own correspondence to the state.
"The most letters, the more chance we will get heard," Fusaro said.
Township Business Administrator Elena Zsoldos suggested that, once completed, all of the letters be brought to her office to be sent to state officials.
"If they would be willing to bring them to the township, possibly we could put them all together and mail them out to the state DOT," she said. "Maybe as a joint effort we could move them a little bit."
Council member Warren Reiter said that the township received a correspondence from the NJDOT a few months ago which said that they currently do not have the resources to find a way to make Route 70 safer.
"It was more like 'we don't have the staffing and we'll call you when we're interested,'" Zsoldos said.