Turnpike Authority Reveals GSP Exit 109 Improvements

February 6, 2018
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People who attended a Jan. 24 information session hosted by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, which oversees the Garden State Parkway, viewed renderings and offered comments on the changes to Exit 109.

By John Sorce |

MIDDLETOWN – The New Jersey Turnpike Authority revealed to the public on Jan. 24 its plan to renovate Exit 109 on the Garden State Parkway to alleviate traffic concerns.

About 60 residents wandered through the Community Room at the Middletown Public Library prior to and after the public presentation, where renderings of the current landscape and proposed project were displayed as enlarged printouts on stands.

The renovations will begin this summer with heavy construction starting in November. The project will be completed in August 2019 and will cost between $10 and $15 million.

The proposed improvements include:

  • Separation of the Newman Springs Road eastbound to Garden State Parkway northbound entrance ramp movement from the Garden State Parkway northbound exit ramp traffic by constructing a new entrance loop ramp and bridge over Newman Springs Road east of the existing Garden State Parkway bridges.
  • Signalization of the Newman Springs Road intersection with Schultz Drive West, which will include the relocation of the Garden State Parkway northbound exit left turn onto Newman Springs Road westbound to this intersection.
  • Reconfiguration of the Newman Springs Road intersection with Half Mile Road to accommodate the Newman Springs Road eastbound left turn to Half Mile Road movement.
  • Conversion of the Half Mile Road southbound left lane at Newman Springs Road from a shared right/left to a left turn only lane.
  • Minor widening of Schultz Drive West between Newman Springs Road and the Garden State Parkway northbound entrance ramp from Schultz Drive West to provide for a southbound right turn onto Newman Springs Road westbound.
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The project will be split into two stages, with stage two being the “heavy construction phase.” Stage one, beginning this summer, will encompass work on overhead utilities and construction of the new bridge, ramps and widening of roadways. The second phase, which is scheduled to begin in November, will tie in the new ramps, remove the existing jug handle and finish with milling and paving operations. This phase will be done overnight and on weekends, with short-term detours.

The current setup has the Garden State Parkway northbound exit ramp merging with the Newman Springs Road eastbound jug handle, which also provides for traffic U-turning onto the Garden State Parkway northbound entrance and left turning traffic destined for Half Mile Road northbound. The merge and weave patterns cause congestion and backups on both the Garden State Parkway northbound and Newman Springs Road.

The primary issues that will be addressed in the project are eliminating vehicular traffic queues that currently extend onto the Garden State Parkway northbound local roadway from the Garden State Parkway northbound exit ramp and improving the flow of traffic destined to and from the Garden State Parkway by eliminating the merging and weaving condition.

The project was initially introduced three years ago and called for $60 million worth of renovations, but changes in the state budget called for those plans to be modified.

Douglas Tomchuk of Red Bank, who lives off Newman Springs Road, feels this version of the renovation is an upgrade over the previous plan. “We had seen the previous version of this plan and there was a lot that I had concerns with,” Tomchuck said during the public comment session. “I am very pleased that we ran out of money for these projects because I think this is a much better project. From having about a half hour to process the materials, this project seems to be a lot more logical and it seems to alleviate some of the problems that have been experienced without interference to the community too badly. I want to go on the record saying the previous project had some serious design flaws and that I hope that doesn’t ever come back.”

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Public comments will also be accepted by the Turnpike Authority until Thursday, Feb. 8, when the comment period closes. Written comments may be addressed to Maynard Abuan, P.E., Hearing Officer, New Jersey Turnpike Authority, P.O. Box 5042, Woodbridge, NJ 07095.

 


This article was first published in the Feb. 1-8, 2018 print edition of The Two River Times.

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