Home Government Turnpike Authority Meets With Evergreen Woods Condo Board Over Parkway Noise

Turnpike Authority Meets With Evergreen Woods Condo Board Over Parkway Noise

Cars whiz by the Evergreen Woods development with only a thin layer of trees in between the highway and 2,000 residents' homes. (Photo: Daniel Nee)
Cars whiz by the Evergreen Woods development with only a thin layer of trees in between the highway and 2,000 residents’ homes. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

In the ongoing dispute between residents of the Evergreen Woods condominium development and the New Jersey Turnpike Authority over noise pollution and the removal of trees as a result of the Garden State Parkway shoulder widening project in Brick, it appears there are some glimmers of hope for relief after a years-long stalemate.

Still, some residents say their voices were not heard when authority and township officials met with the condominium development’s board recently.

Evergreen Woods residents have been lobbying the Turnpike Authority – to no avail – for a sound wall since trees that shielded noise from the highway for more than 25 years were cut down to make room for the wider lanes. The request has fallen on deaf ears, with residents of the neighborhood saying they cannot afford to hire an attorney to force the state’s hand. Turnpike officials have said the area does not qualify for a sound wall.


After Mayor John Ducey and Township Administrator Joanne Bergin intervened in recent months, authority officials finally agreed to come to Brick for a meeting with the Evergreen Woods condominium board. At the meeting, the authority for the first time admitted there could be an issue with the widening project and proposed planting about 200 trees this fall that would help block the noise and shield the residents from exhaust fumes from the Parkway.

“We had the executive director of the Turnpike Authority, their attorney, the association president, their attorney and the property manager at the meeting,” Bergin said. “What they came back with is a plan where they had the actual drawings – types of trees, where they want trees located, trees that have leaves that fall or other types.”

The plan to plant trees will go before the condominium board, which must vote on the species of trees and where they should be placed.

“Depending on what happens there, the Turnpike Authority said they would be willing to have a remediation plan,” Bergin said.

But some residents are not satisfied with the tree solution, and still hold out hope for the construction of a sound wall.

“The Evergreen Woods association never really backed our wanting a wall,” said Michele Spector, an Evergreen Woods resident who has been vocal about the plight of her neighbors and attends every Turnpike Authority meeting. “We refuse to accept trees in lieu of a wall. We’re going to keep pushing for a wall.”

As for why trees will not suffice: “It’s going to take a while for them to grow and actually affect the noise level,” Spector explained, if they are successful in reducing the noise and air pollution at all.

  • JJones

    Build the wall ..trees will take years to help ..

    • Stephen Brill

      Thank you for your comment.

      • JJones

        They need to fix there screw up…that area was rail roaded thinking no one would screem and yell..keep fighting…put the damn wall up ..what is it a 1/4 to a 1/2 mile at the max ???

  • Trevor

    A cheap wooden fence wall is a start, they have simple things like that on other freeways.

  • Mark Story Jenks

    I find it ironic that the development is named Evergreen Woods. If not for the parkway and the masses who used it to move down here, it still would be woods.

  • Michele Spector

    The Turnpike Authority is only willing to do the least of what they are really capable of doing. They are afraid of setting a precedent by giving us a sound wall that we actually qualify for but they keep denying The moment they cut down the center median, according to the NJDEP demands to install a basin, they were equally as accountable. The NJTA never had the authority, broke the law, and never followed their own rules. According to this Spotlight article, what they continue to do has been struck down in court. http://www.njspotlight.com/stories/13/09/17/opinion-compelling-the-dep-to-think-outside-the-black-box/ NJDEP broke the law so the NJTA is now on the hook. What are NJTA willing to do to mitigate for the “extensive” environmental damage they have inflicted. is the question. We will continue to fight until we get that wall. The trees are just putting the cart before the horse–we want the horse.

  • Mark Story Jenks

    I would sincerely like to suggest a hybrid species of tree, “Green Giants”. They are a true evergreen (versus a deciduous tree that would drop it’s leaves in winter) and they grow very fast. They have no problems with insects or deer. I have 12 or 13 on my property for privacy. They’ve grown from 1 foot tall to 20 or 30 feet in ten years. They would be ideal to help cut sound and provide nest sites for songbirds. Thuja Green Giants will grow 3 to 5 feet per year if watered and fed the first few years. No, I am not trying to sell any. I am not in business selling trees, I just like growing many different kinds as a lifelong hobby.

    • Brandy the Dog

      After reading some of your posts, I’m assuming you are a bird watcher, lover or feeder. I also have an interest in them. Did you ever visit (the site), “The Cornell Lab of Ornithology” and check out their live bird cams? They are amazing, Presently there are Red tailed Hawks with their hawkettes (don’t know if that’s their proper name) 3 of them. I check it out about 5x’s a day, because sometimes the female is just sitting lightly on top of them, when it’s time for their dinner you often get a great view, if the female is off to the side. In the a.m. approximately at 7, I saw the male deliver their food which was a squirrel, he hangs out for awhile then takes off. It’s a great site for all birds but especially this time of year.

      • Mark Story Jenks

        I have had the Cornell site bookmarked for many years. It is loaded with so much great information!