OCEAN COUNTY officials are moving forward with major safety improvements for an almost 25 mile stretch of Route 539 running from Little Egg Harbor Township to Plumsted Township.
“This is a road that winds through seven municipalities,” said Freeholder John P. Kelly, Director of Law and Public Safety. “Motorists who use this road regularly will encounter numerous new safety features when this work is completed.”
The Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders is expected to authorize the work to go out to bid during its Aug. 5 meeting.
“Going out to bid for this project is the next step in moving this safety improvement project ahead,” Kelly said.
The project, which is estimated to cost $3.4 million, will be funded by the Federal Highway Administration’s High Risk Rural Road program. Construction is expected to begin in the Spring of 2016.
Improvements include the installation of centerline rumble strips, all-weather reflective striping, new raised pavement markers and new upgraded signage.
“The centerline rumble strips will help to reduce centerline crossover accidents,” Kelly said. “And the all-weather reflective striping will help to improve nighttime visibility especially in bad weather.”
He added that new pavement markers and new signage also help enhance visibility especially during nighttime driving.
In addition, a high friction treatment surface will be installed at six curves along with LED Chevron signs. Together these treatments will provide visual cues both day and night alerting drivers to enter the curves with caution.
“All of this work should help motorists better navigate this roadway,” Kelly said. “Adding all of these improvements and upgrades will create a safer road.”
Route 539 is a two-lane road for the majority of the length of this project.
Portions of the road run through Little Egg Harbor, Stafford, Barnegat, Lacey, Manchester, Jackson and Plumsted townships.
The project was one of five throughout the region approved for a grant through the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority’s fiscal year 2015 High Risk Rural Roads Program, which provides federal funds to counties for high-impact, cost-effective safety improvements.
The project seeks to reduce wet weather accidents, sideswipes and centerline crossover crashes along the route from the Garden State Parkway in Little Egg Harbor Township to Horicon Avenue in Manchester Township.
“County Route 539 is a scenic two-lane road that runs through the heart of the Pinelands and serves as an important access route for Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst,” said Freeholder James F. Lacey, liaison to the county’s Road Department and
first vice chairman of the NJTPA. “These improvements target areas along the route where sharp curves and reduced visibility present the worst hazards for drivers.”
Ocean County used cutting edge database tools made available by NJTPA to assess Route 539 and to make application for the High Risk Rural Road funding.