AASHTO Journal, 12 July 2013
The New Jersey Department of Transportation last week broke ground on a project to reconstruct the gateway to and along the Jersey Shore that was destroyed last year by Hurricane Sandy.
NJDOT officials were joined by Governor Chris Christie on July 2nd to begin the project to reconstruct Route 35, which runs through nine municipalities along the Barnegat Peninsula. Hurricane Sandy devastated entire sections of the roadway last October and destroyed the highway’s drainage system.
“The extent of damage to Route 35 prompted Governor Christie to accelerate a Route 35 reconstruction project that had been planned for later this decade,” NJDOT Commissioner James Simpson said in a statement. “We need to rebuild now because the highway remains severely compromised and would likely sustain multiple failures were another strong storm to batter the peninsula. That is an unacceptable risk because Route 35 supports commerce and tourism in this very popular shore region.”
The $265 million project, which would completely reconstruct 12.5 miles of the roadway between the border of Point Pleasant Beach and Bay Head to the entrance of Island Beach State Park, will be completed in three phases and will include Complete Street features to accommodate pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit users in addition to drivers. The Federal Highway Administration is covering 80 percent of the project costs through its Sandy Emergency Relief funding.
NJDOT officials say the department will focus on minimizing construction-related traffic disruptions during the busy summer season. The project is expected to be completed prior to summer kicking off in 2015.
“Route 35 will come back stronger and better, and I am grateful to our federal partners at the Federal Highway Administration for working with us to secure funding for such an essential part of our state’s economy,” said Christie.
Additional information on the Route 35 reconstruction project is available here.