def # 95 05/26/11
FREEHOLDERS APPLAUD COMPLETION OF PARKWAY WORK
TOMS RIVER - Ocean County officials this week gave two thumbs up to the state Turnpike Authority for completing the
widening of 13-miles of the Garden State Parkway in Ocean County prior to the start of the Memorial Day weekend.
"This widened roadway will make a tremendous difference for motorists, whether they are traveling to Ocean County for
vacation or they are commuters living here in Ocean County," said Freeholder John P. Kelly, Director of Law and Public
Safety. "The additional lane provides extra capacity for the motorists that are already here and using the Parkway. The
widening will help keep traffic moving."
Ocean County officials were advised in April that the work was scheduled to be completed by Memorial Day weekend.
"Our visitors and local commuters have been very patient during the project. Now drivers can enjoy the
convenience of a widened roadway," said Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari, who serves as liaison to the Ocean County
Tourism Advisory Council.
Construction of the widening project from Exit 63 in Stafford Township to Exit 80 in Beachwood began in June 2009. An
additional lane has been added in each direction along with wider shoulders.
"Ocean County is a mecca for tourism," Vicari said. "As we approach summer we are host to hundreds of thousands of
people from the tri-state area all of which pack onto the Garden State Parkway throughout the summer months and beyond
in order to get to their destinations in Ocean County. In addition, tourists making their way to Atlantic City and other
shore points like Wildwood and Cape May are using the roadway.
"This work should result in much less congestion as drivers use a better and safer roadway," he said."
Freeholder Gerry P. Little noted that the construction also provided a good economic boost to the county.
"There is a very remarkable difference from two lanes to three," said Little, who travels the Parkway daily from his
home in Surf City. "This will improve traffic flow and safety."
Kelly said the parkway also serves as Ocean County’s main evacuation route for hurricanes, forest fires and other
emergency events natural or manmade.
"It is essential we move motorists safely, and more importantly we need to make certain that in case of an emergency we
have an evacuation route that can accommodate our residents and visitors," Kelly said. "I commend the Turnpike Authority
for making this road safer and for completing the project in a timely manner."
Kelly said the county has had a longstanding relationship with the Turnpike Authority, working hand in hand to improve
interchanges along the parkway.
"To date, this Board has assisted the Authority with bringing improvements to interchanges 63, 67, 69, 77, and 80. And,
we are working on 88/89 and 91. These expanded interchanges have helped to improve the flow of traffic not only on the
Parkway but also on local roadways," Kelly said. "These improvements along with the widening work will help keep the
flow of current day traffic moving along this roadway."