Officials Celebrate Completing Project On Routes 34 and 537

(Left to right) Commissioner Ross F. Licitra, Commissioner Nick DiRocco, Colts Neck Committeeman Frank Rizzuto, Colts Neck Committeewoman Sue Fitzpatrick, Colts Neck Deputy Mayor J.P. Bartolomeo, Colts Neck Mayor Michael Viola, Commissioner Lillian G. Burry, Colts Neck Committeewoman Tara Torchia Buss, Congressman Chris Smith and Commissioner Director Thomas A. Arnone cutting the ribbon for the new finished project. (Photo courtesy Monmouth County Department of Information and Tourism)

  MONMOUTH COUNTY – The Monmouth County Board of County Commissioners held a ribbon-cutting ceremony in honor of the State Route 34 (SR 34) and County Route 537 (CR 537) intersection improvement and bridge replacement project ending successfully.

  The project involved the widening of SR 34, widening of CR 537, replacement of the existing traffic signal with state-of-the art technology, replacement of the CR 537 bridge (1300-A18), replacement of the SR 34 bridge (1308-152) and installation of bio-retention basins.

  “The intersection improvement project at State Route 34 and County Route 537 set out to improve the safety and operations of the intersection as well as decrease the use of local roadways as alternate routes to avoid congestion,” Commissioner Director Thomas A. Arnone, liaison to the County’s Department of Public Works and Engineering, stated at the ribbon cutting. “Throughout construction, the county worked closely with local businesses including Delicious Orchards, Colts Neck Stillhouse and the Orchards at Colts Neck shopping plaza to minimize disruptions to their operations. At some points, work was staggered on certain sections of the roads based on their business hours to keep their driveways open.”

  “For nearly two decades and throughout my time in public service at the municipal and county levels, I had the persistence of vision to bring this intersection improvement to the forefront of our priorities as elected officials and brought this essential project to fruition,” Commissioner Lillian G. Burry said. “For years, residents, business owners and motorists have experienced lengthy delays and hazardous driving conditions at one of the busiest intersections in Monmouth County. The completed project has drastically altered how people travel in and through Colts Neck, especially during commuter peak hours.”

  “As a resident of the township myself, I am personally gratified to see us reaching this significant milestone and I applaud our County Public Works and Engineering department and our partners on the state level for their tireless efforts to make this project a reality,” Commissioner Burry added.

  With the county’s partnership with the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), they were able to complete this project swiftly. This type of project would normally be run by the State since the intersection of State Route 34 and County Route 537 fall under NJDOT. Despite this, the County was allowed to be the lead for this project in order for it to be completed as quick as possible.

(Left to right) Commissioner Lillian G. Burry and Congressman Chris Smith. (Photo courtesy Monmouth County Department of Information and Tourism)

  The majority of the project was completed with Federal Aid Grant and State Aid Transportation Trust Fund (TTF) dollars under the NJDOT and County agreement. Totaling to $23.3 million for this project, the state provided 75 percent and the county provided 25 percent for the cost.

  These costs included: Design totaling to $1.5 million, Right-of-Way acquisition totaling to $1.6 million, construction totaling to $17.7 million and construction support and inspection totaling to $2.5 million. The county share was $5.5 million. Of the $5.5 million, the county used $5.2 million from State Aid TTF allocations and $300,000 from County Capital Funds to pay for non-participating construction items.

  “I commend the County’s Department of Public Works and Engineering, and all of our partners, for the successful completion of this intersection improvement project,” Commissioner Director Arnone said. “The county kept in constant communication with the community, such as disclosing that temporary lane closures or reroutes went into effect, and made this a continuous priority.”

 The design team for this project included Greenman-Pedersen, Inc., Amy Greene Environmental (a Davey Company), and Prestige Environmental. They were also awarded a construction contract for these improvements to Rencor Inc. of Summerville.

Alongside Rencor, Inc., the construction team included Pantaleo Electric, Inc., ML Ruberton Construction, Co, Protec Documentation Services, Clean Earth Matters, LLC, LC Equipment, Inc., The Vann Organization, ANS Consultants, Inc., and Multifacet, Inc. The Construction Inspection and Administration design consultants included T&M Associates, Inc., Amercom, Inc., and GTS Consultants.