BRICK – Traffic always seems to get heavier around the holidays, but in Brick, traffic is a year-round fact of life. Is it because of overdevelopment? Old roads? State roads over which the township has no control?
Brick Police Sergeant Joseph Rossi, a 15-year veteran of the department who recently took over their Traffic Safety Unit, said it’s a combination of the above.
The addition of people and new businesses over the years “is a great thing, but some of the roadways were not initially designed, years and years ago, to withstand that,” he said in a recent phone interview.
“Some of the roads we have in town are really old; infrastructure-wise, they were made before a lot of the development that’s happened, and they are trying to fix that,” Rossi said.
“Roadway developments/improvements to try and address the traffic issues are constantly happening, and they no sooner finish one and they start another one,” he said. “The list doesn’t ever end, it just continues.”
Not all the roads in town are municipal roads, controlled by the local government. Brick has no control over the county and state roads and highways, which are where most of the traffic issues and accidents occur, he said.
Some of the biggest problem areas include the intersections of Route 70 and Chambers Bridge Road, Route 70 and Brick Boulevard and Chambers Bridge and Brick Boulevard, the sergeant said.
“You have a lot of commuter traffic that travels those roadways, so it’s not so much the municipal roads, it’s just there are so many county and state roads that tie into where the commuters travel through,” Rossi said.
Any roads that touch Parkway access – where motorists are coming on and off the Parkway – creates traffic issues, and Rossi noted that there has been a large number of major accidents at the intersections of Van Zile Road and Route 70, and Burnt Tavern Road and Route 70.
The reconfiguration of Parkway access roads by exit 91 was a big improvement, he said.
“It alleviated a lot of issues we had…those turn lanes they developed were a huge solution to the problem,” Rossi said. “It goes to show you that the research they do and the engineering that goes into these projects helps significantly.”
Mayor John G. Ducey said he believes there is a lot of traffic in town because of the variety of stores and restaurants in the township.
“People come to Brick regionally because we have everything here,” the mayor wrote in an email. “It’s similar to Cherry Hill, Woodbridge and other areas with a large variety of stores and restaurants.”
He said he thinks that some of the traffic problems could be alleviated if there was a new Parkway exit onto Church Road in Toms River.
“This would eliminate people exiting at Route 70 and Shorrock Road and then creating a massive traffic jam on Brick Boulevard for people wanting to get to Toms River,” he said.
“The traffic from 3:30 to 6 would be elongated from Shorrock and Brick Boulevard,” the mayor said, lessening the volume of traffic there.