HOWELL – Residents might see some movement in the improvement projects to Halls Mill Road and Elton-Adelphia Road in Howell Township this fall.
This county project has been in the works since the 1980s, according to project manager for T&M Associates, Peter Drinkwater. With the improvements, residents will see better driver and pedestrian safety within the project limits, better traffic circulation, and replacements to obsolete infrastructures that are “in a state of disrepair,” he added.
Monmouth County is proposing safety improvements, including realignment and roadway widening, to approximately 1.94 miles of Halls Mill Road, Elton-Adelphia Road and Edinburgh Drive along with replacement of bridges F-29, F-30 and F-59 within the project limits.
“The main focus of the project is going to be Halls Mills Road itself,” said Drinkwater.
Halls Mill is currently a narrow roadway with no shoulders and lots of curves, which can create sight-distance issues.
“Some of the sections do not meet the design speed of 55 miles per hour, there are some areas that are supposed to go only 25 miles per hour,” he said, noting a major concern with the speed variability.
Between 2013 and 2015, there have been 94 crashes on the project part of the roadway, making the roadway double the average crash rate compared to the statewide average, said Drinkwater.
Also, Hall Mills Road will be realigned with Edinburgh Drive. The goal here is to “realign the road so it creates a four-leg intersection with Edinburgh Drive.”
The project roadways will be widened to support two-way traffic in each direction, according to Drinkwater. Halls Mill and Edinburgh will be widened to 68 feet, including 14-foot outside lanes for bikes and a 16-foot wide grass median.
The Elton-Adelphia roadway will be 62 feet wide, with 14-foot outside lanes.
All of the traffic signals within the project limits will be replaced, including the signal at Halls Mill and Elton-Adelphia intersection, as it is currently evaluated at a “Level F,” which is the worst ranking from Level A to F.
“The roadway itself operates at a level of service E,” he said.
New traffic signals will be placed at:
- Edinburgh Drive and Route 9
- Halls Mill Road & Elton-Adelphia Road new intersections with Edinburgh Drive
- Halls Mill Road and Three Brooks Road
Each of the bridges F-29, F-30 and F-59, are defined as “functionally obsolete with low structural ratings.” All three bridges fall below the federally required ranking of 80 (or above), which necessitates repair. Drinkwater noted that all three bridges will be replaced.
Other improvements, according to T&M’s presentation at the public hearing, include:
- Left-turn lanes at intersections
- Sidewalk connectivity at Elton-Adelphia and enhanced lighting
- Spyglass Hill Road cul-de-sac
- Fully reconstructed pavement
- Signing and striping pavement
- Utility and pole relocations
- Drainage upgrades via NJDEP requirements.
Drinkwater explained that the timeline for this project began in the 1980s when Freehold Township was looking into the realignment of Halls Mills Road. This was then taken on by the county.
In 2007, residents saw the first public outreach for the project, which proved to be very expensive, so the county reached out for federal funding.
“As part of that federal funding process, we had to follow the National Environmental Policy Act, or the NEPA, process, which included an environmental assessment,” said Drinkwater.
In 2009, an environmental assessment was performed, which found no significant impact as of 2012. In 2011, the county held a public hearing which discussed the environmental assessment.
By 2015, T&M Associates had begun the final project design, which was sent to the NJ Department of Environmental Protection, and approved in April of 2017.
Drinkwater said that they are anticipating the final design submission to the New Jersey Department of Transportation by summer 2018. Construction is slated to receive federal authorization by fall 2018.