Grant Paves The Way For Route 9 Traffic Relief

A Congressional grant will allow completion of the Railroad Avenue extension and free up traffic on Route 9. (Photo by Stephanie Faughnan)

  LACEY – The long-awaited expansion of Railroad Avenue could soon be a game-changer for those who navigate Route 9’s daily traffic headaches.

  “The Township received a $6,000,000 Congressional District Spending Grant for the Completion of the Railroad Avenue Extension from Musket to South Street and From Lacey Road south to connect into Station Drive,” said Mayor Peggy Sue Juliano. “This includes the completion of the trail.”

  Money awarded for the special federal grant can only be used for the cited projects and cannot be redirected to anything else.

  While expressing her gratitude to Congressman Chris Smith (R-4th) for securing funds, the mayor also highlighted the project’s special significance for Lacey. She credited her husband, the late Mayor Nick Juliano, Committeeman Mark Dykoff, and now Ocean County Commissioner Gary Quinn for initiating the discussions to free up traffic on Route 9.

  “I call it like a little scoop around that makes it easier to get to the stores from another direction,” Juliano said. “There’s a great walking path and biking path that will also be great.”

  The project encompasses the construction of a new two-lane limited access road running parallel to Route 9, stretching from Lacey Road South to Station Drive and from Musket Drive North to South Street. Additionally, the extension will incorporate a multi-use path known as the Barnegat Branch Rail Trail, creating a vital link in the Ocean County Barnegat Bay Trail.

  Two phases of the Railroad Avenue extension were completed in 2017 at a cost of $3 million. Authorities could not move on to further completion because of a lack of money. The start of the project reportedly freed up traffic north of Lacey Road. Sunrise Beach residents also experienced an easier means of getting in and out of their development when the road was first extended.

  Nevertheless, the fact remains that congestion is a very real concern on Route 9.

  “During peak travel time, the Route 9 corridor in Lacey Township develops heavily, leaving no alternative paths to travel to other parts of the town or its neighboring communities,” said Rep. Smith, who is said to have to have personally secured the funds for the project as one of his congressional earmarks that were signed into law as part of a negotiated budget.

  “The extension of Railroad Avenue will not only ease the flow of traffic within Lacey Township but will also improve safety conditions for drivers, passengers, and pedestrians alike,” Smith said.

  Drainage issues in the area will also be addressed as part of the overall project estimated at $6,119,345. New construction plans include drainage swales, stormwater piping, and an infiltration basin. These improvements aim to alleviate flooding during storms and enhance overall safety and efficiency for travel on Route 9 during inclement weather.

  Township Administrator Veronica Laureigh said that she spoke with Chris Smith’s office about the fact that no one was addressing the traffic on Route 9 and learned of the opportunity for congressional spending and its projected use. She encouraged members of the governing body to apply for funding.

  The end result should be completion of a road similar to McKinley Boulevard in Manahawkin that runs parallel to Route 72. The speed limit on Railroad Avenue will remain at 30 mph as required by the initial permit approving the project.

  Unlike other municipalities along the Barnegat Branch Rail Trail, Lacey owns the railroad right-of-way. The township acquired rights to the property by way of a tax foreclosure sale in 1994. Ocean County owns the land in other local towns and has used it to develop the Barnegat Rail Trail. Lacey has not turned over its portion to the County but has made an agreement as far as an access easement.

  Authorities are waiting for further information concerning when the funds will be made available and will then establish a timeline for the work. 

Previous articleCentral Regional Basketball Celebrates Two Big Wins
Next articleVietnam War Soldiers Honored During Ceremony
Stephanie A. Faughnan is an award-winning journalist associated with Micromedia Publications/Jersey Shore Online and the director of Writefully Inspired. Recognized with two Excellence in Journalism awards by the New Jersey Society of Professional Journalists, Stephanie's passion lies in using the power of words to effect positive change. Her achievements include a first-place award in the Best News Series Print category for the impactful piece, "The Plight Of Residents Displaced By Government Land Purchase," and a second-place honor for the Best Arts and Entertainment Coverage category, specifically for "Albert Music Hall Delivers Exciting Line-Up For 25th Anniversary Show." Stephanie can be contacted by email at