Ocean County will contract with a consulting firm to develop a new traffic study that will map out future roadway projects in the northern portion of the county.
The study, which will be conducted by Stantec Consulting Services for $108,000, is largely in response to the dramatic growth of Lakewood Township and its effect on the towns it borders.
“You can hardly move now, and if we don’t take action, you won’t be able to move at all,” said Freeholder Jack Kelly. “And it impacts the neighboring municipalities because that traffic is going somewhere.”
The county has begun meeting with representatives from Lakewood, Brick, Toms River and Jackson to acquire input from local officials. The recommendations of the study will be used to upgrade Ocean County’s countywide transportation model which was last updated in 2013.
In addition to reviewing all traffic data currently available from the county, the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority and the state Department of Transportation, the consultant also will look at socioeconomic data, zoning information, planned developments, approved developments, and certificates of occupancy, officials said.
“This will be a comprehensive study that addresses growth in the northern section of the county and how it impacts the county road network,” said Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph Vicari. “We need to make certain we do whatever we can to provide the best road network possible for motorists and pedestrians.”
Ocean County operates the largest county road network in New Jersey.
A timeline for the study is expected to be established during the county’s first meeting with Stantec, however, the consultant is expected to begin traffic counts by April.
The consultant will develop forecasts for years 2025 and 2040 based on the traffic counts, the Route 9 corridor study and the updated data collected.
While the study is underway, the county will continue with current maintenance and capital projects, Kelly. In the works now are two projects in the target area – new signals will be constructed at two intersections that currently do not have traffic signals in Lakewood. The intersections are at New Hampshire Avenue and America Avenue and Cedarbridge Avenue and Avenue of the States.