SOUTH TOMS RIVER – The streetscape project on Route 166 is being completed, which is expected to make the area safer and look nicer, officials said.
The project is centered on sidewalks and curbing on either side of Route 166 in front of several businesses. Previously, there were minimal places to walk or ride a bicycle. Additionally, the parking lot on the northbound side was wide open to the roadway in several places, allowing cars to come and go at a number of different spots. This was very unsafe.
The project installed sidewalks and curbing. One goal was to allow places for people to walk or ride their bicycle, business administrator Joseph Kostecki said. The other goal was to direct the traffic in and out of the parking lot in a more controlled manner. Improvements, like the decorative lights, were to make the area safer and more attractive.
Normally, projects on Route 166/Rt. 9 would be performed by the State Department of Transportation, since it’s a state road. However, the $644,000 work was overseen by the borough of South Toms River, he said. It was funded entirely through grants.
There were some delays in Trenton to getting this project done. Gov. Chris Christie halted many “non-essential” projects until the Transportation Trust Fund could be funded. He and Senate lawmakers were at odds on how to do this. Eventually, the gasoline tax was increased for this purpose.