State transportation officials announced Wednesday that all lanes of Route 35 are open to traffic for good, as a two year-long construction project is finally completed just days before the busy July 4 holiday weekend.
The $341 million project, which began after Labor Day weekend in 2013, consisted of a complete rebuilding of the state highway between Bay Head and South Seaside Park, including Brick, Lavallette, Toms River, Seaside Heights and Seaside Park.
“Completely reconstructing 12.5 miles of highway and building an improved drainage system following the devastation of Superstorm Sandy was a massive undertaking,” said NJDOT Commissioner Jamie Fox, in a statement. “Getting these lanes open before the busy summer season will provide a real benefit to the businesses, residents, and vacationers – not just this summer, but for many years to come.”
Ocean County Freeholder Jack Kelly said that some works remains on sidewalks and landscaping, but work on the roadway itself is complete, according to an advisory county officials received from the DOT Wednesday.
“That is really good news for all of those who live in that area and good news for Ocean County for this summer,” Kelly said.
Specifically, the work that remains includes:
- Some sidewalk and landscaping work remaining, which may require temporary lane closures in Ortley Beach, Seaside Heights, Seaside Park and South Seaside Park. The state is also continuing to test five pump stations, which are used during storms to pump water off the highway and surrounding streets.
- In Lavallette, work to reconstruct the right shoulder of Route 35 northbound will be broken up into three-block sections between Trenton Avenue and Ortley Avenue with work taking place in alternating sections. This work is expected to be complete by the end of July. No work on Route 35 northbound in the Lavallette Business District between Brown Avenue and Bond Avenue will take place between Memorial Day and Labor Day. In the fall, the remaining work between Brown Avenue and Bond Avenue will be completed, and a final paving job will be done throughout the five mile stretch between Lavallette and the border of Brick and Mantoloking.
- In Mantoloking and Bay Head, minor sidewalk and landscaping work will be completed during the summer, which will not affect traffic. Vehicle detection will be added to signalized intersections that will require short time traffic shifts.
The project, which was planned before Superstorm Sandy struck in 2012, was expedited after the storm inundated the roadway and its side streets with floodwater. The effort went far beyond a general milling and paving project and resulted in the completely reconstruction of the highway where the old road was completely dug up and replaced. The project also included numerous pump stations that contain motors which fire up during storms and pump water off the roadway into Barnegat Bay.