As drivers prepared for a harrowing commute during Thursday’s snowstorm, state officials announced sobering news: Ocean County had more traffic fatalities than any other in 2016, with several local roads ranking as some of the state’s most dangerous.
A report from the New Jersey State Police this week, first analyzed by NJ Spotlight, said Ocean County ended 2016 with 53 fatal accidents resulting in 54 deaths. The majority of accidents occurred on the same roads.
- Route 70: 9 fatal accidents.
- Garden State Parkway: 8 fatal accidents.
- County Route 528 (Mantoloking Road, Cedar Bridge Avenue): 4 fatal accidents.
- Route 9: Multiple Accidents (exact number not available).
- Route 88: Multiple Accidents (exact number not available).
Overall, traffic fatalities last year in New Jersey were up 5.6 percent, after already rising more than 7 percent in 2016. There were 603 fatal crashes statewide last year.
County and municipal officials have been actively pleading with the state Department of Transportation to expand the beleaguered Route 9 corridor, which is not only the site of accidents, but adds vehicles to the Garden State Parkway since traffic jams make it a less-than-viable alternative for commuters.
The state agency, each recent year, has told the officials that budget woes have kept the Route 9 project – which would require land purchases and road reconstruction work – out of reach.