As Toms River continues to grow and barrier island towns attract more seasonal visitors as well as year-round residents, the state has proposed major changes at Garden State Parkway interchange 82, which could eventually resemble those made one town north at interchange 89.
The project to add lanes, barriers, safety improvements and change exit numbers would primarily focus on the southbound portion of the highway. As proposed, the work would begin in 2025 and take about four years to complete. The focus would be on a 3.5-mile stretch of the highway, beginning north of interchange 80 and ending at about the point of interchange 83.
“The corridor has several needs in the existing condition,” a state proposal document said. “The project includes Interchange 80 at Route 9 and Dover Road, Interchange 81 at Water Street and Lakehurst Road, and Interchange 82 at Route 37. There are three waterway crossings in the project limits which include Jakes Branch, Toms River, and an Unnamed Tributary to Toms River.”
At interchange 80, full access to the Garden State Parkway would be provided, with two new ramps that do not exist in the current condition.
According to the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, along the northbound Garden State Parkway roadway, there will be a newly-added exit to Route 9 southbound to provide access to points east. This new ramp would bisect an existing stormwater management basin which will be reconfigured to maintain its effectiveness. The existing northbound entrance ramp will be widened from one to two lanes to access the Parkway. These entrance ramp lanes will continue as auxiliary lanes. To improve the operation of the signal at the intersection with the northbound entrance ramp, Dover Road westbound will be widened under the Parkway to accommodate two travel lanes beyond the signalized intersection, thereby reducing the green time required for Dover Road and increasing green time for Route 9 Northbound onto the Garden State Parkway.
Along the southbound roadway, a new southbound entrance ramp will be provided from Double Trouble Road to the highway.
The southbound exit ramp from the Parkway will remain with the same configuration, however the existing stop condition controlled by a stop sign will be upgraded to a traffic signal. The signal will be built with “force-off” detection along the ramp to prevent traffic from spilling-back on the Garden State Parkway mainline.
“Anytime traffic could potentially queue back along the ramp, the traffic signal will allow for the Garden State Parkway ramp to flush onto the local roadway network,” the state’s proposal states.
Interchange 81 (To Be Renamed 82A)
The most high-profile work will be at interchange 82, which has become one of the region’s busiest as Ocean County continues to outpace the rest of the state in growth, and what was once occasional “Shore traffic” has become a common occurrence on a daily basis, year-round.
First, interchange 81 would be renamed “82A.” The northbound entrance would be improved to meet modern design and safety standards, and and tie into the proposed future roundabout to be constructed as part of the the “downtown loop” traffic flow improvement project.
The Lakehurst Road bridge over the Parkway will be replaced offline to the north of the existing alignment to allow traffic to be maintained during construction. The existing Lakehurst Road bridge will be removed.
Along the southbound side of the Parkway, the entrance ramp will be improved to meet standards at the same location while the exit ramp will be relocated north of Lakehurst Road on a new alignment. This new location will allow the ramp to be improved to meet standards and not impact access to Waterline Road while improving the safety and operations of the interchange. The new ramp location will tie into Lakehurst Road at the existing signalized intersection. The Park and Ride will be reconfigured due to the Garden State Parkway widening in this area however the existing number of parking spaces will remain the same.
Interchange 82 B/C
At Interchange 82B and C, previously designated as Interchange 82 and 82A, the general configuration of the interchange will remain as a cloverleaf interchange, the state said.
The Parkway entrance and exit ramps will be improved to current design standards and connect to and from the service roadway of the Parkway, eliminating the “weaving” with traffic already at speed on the highway as cars navigate their way from travel lanes to combined exit and entrance lanes. A concrete median barrier will be installed to designate the ramp portions and separate them from the mainline traffic.
Improvements to the highway in the area of the local interchanges are necessary due to a number of factors, officials said.
There are “existing deficiencies that do not meet the design standards of today, since the corridor was originally constructed in the 1950s,” the report said. “The shoulder widths are typically less than the Authority’s current standards, and even non-existent at some locations. The roadway geometry and connecting ramps have several existing deficiencies including stopping sight distance of vertical curves, cross slopes and superelevation rates. The acceleration and deceleration lane lengths are insufficient between the closely spaced interchanges. Bridge clearances are deficient, including the vertical clearances under or over the Garden State Parkway and the width of the crossing roadways.”
The state’s contractor in the design process produced a video explaining the details of the project, which is embedded below:
A PDF document allowing close-in zooms is embedded after the story.
The project is currently in the preliminary design phase, which is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2023 with final design to follow with an anticipated completion in 2025. Motorists with suggestions can add their input by e-mailing email@example.com.
PDF of Proposed Layout Changes: