(Photo: Google Maps)

🚧 Intersection at Hooper Avenue and Route 37 in Toms River will be getting wider

🚧 Parts of Route 72 and Route 9 in Ocean County will also see road work

🚧 There will be road work on Route 35, Route 57, and Route 66 in Monmouth County

On any given busy day, especially in the summer, the intersection of Hooper Avenue and Route 37 in Toms River gets so busy traffic is backed up for about a mile.

You can see cars or you may be in that long-flowing sea of vehicles all the way back to Dayton Avenue and sometimes down to Hadley Avenue.

A remedy is in the works to resolve this infuriating traffic dilemma for drivers in Ocean County.

(Photo: Google Maps/Images)
(Photo: Google Maps/Images)

Widening of Route 37 and Hooper Avenue in Toms River

The news you want to hear is that changes are coming with the ultimate goal of providing some breathing room and you getting where you need to go a little bit quicker.

There was some planning, some public input over the years, and now there's a game plan.

It's just the early, preliminary engineering stage of project development, according to the NJ-DOT, but the end goal is to widen Route 37 using the grass median and provide a fourth lane in both directions.

Crews will also widen Hooper Avenue and provide a third lane in both directions.

(Photo: Google Maps/Images)
(Photo: Google Maps/Images)

Congestion in downtown Toms River

The jug handles you drive by or through at Neal Street and Lowell Avenue will be used so people can make left turns from Route 37.

"It will definitely help with the congestion there," Pankesh Patel, Executive Regional Manager with the NJ-DOT overseeing Ocean and Monmouth Counties, tells Townsquare Media News. "Once the improvements are done, you will definitely see a big sigh of relief."

From start to finish, turning this plan into a reality will cost a steep amount.

"The project is going to cost roughly $16-17 million dollars," Patel said.

(Photo: Google Maps/Images)
(Photo: Google Maps/Images)

Timeline for widening of Route 37 and Hooper Avenue

Things are moving in a positive direction of planning.

The DOT estimates that the preliminary engineering portion of the project will be finished up at some point in 2025 leading into the final design phase.

From there, construction will take place and the NJ-DOT said they expect that work to be done at some point in 2028.

Update on the Route 72 Manahawkin Bay Bridges project

The construction is now in the final stages for the Route 72 Manahawkin Bay Bridges project between Stafford Township and the borough of Ship Bottom.

(Photo: Google Maps/Images)
(Photo: Google Maps/Images)

Patel says that there is currently minimal impact to traffic and they've kept the summer season in mind for the duration of this project while working towards their goal of improving safety and reducing congestion in this part of Ocean County.

There are a couple of areas crews are zoning in on including improving the intersection at Marsha Drive and Route 72 in Stafford and Ship Bottom on Long Beach Island and along 8th and 9th Street.

"The two outfalls (structures) that we were going to build have been constructed on 8th and 9th street," Patel said.

(Photo: Google Maps/Images)
(Photo: Google Maps/Images)

While a good amount of the work has been done, there's a little ways to go before their estimated finish time of the end of 2024 including work this coming fall to replace a culvert under Marsha Drive in order to put in a new lane on Route 72.

"Right now, there is minimal impact to the traffic and we are mindful about the summer season as well," Patel said. "We have had meetings with the local stakeholders on ensuring that there is a very minimal to no impact at all to the traffic."

Roadwork this spring in Toms River and Lakewood

Ocean County drivers have longed to hear it: Route 9 in Lakewood will be getting a facelift.

There are a few things that are going to get started over the next few weeks that'll give some breathing room to vehicles heading between Toms River and Lakewood.

It starts with widening roads including and beyond Route 9 in both Ocean County towns including a stretch from Indian Head Road to Central Avenue.

(Photo: Google Maps/Images)
(Photo: Google Maps/Images)

There will be eight signalized intersections that will get widened as part of the upcoming $48.5 million dollar pavement preservation project and there will also be left turn lanes added at seven intersections that do not have a signal, according to the NJ-DOT.

There will be continued milling and paving done on Route 9 in both directions from Indian Head Road in Toms River and Central Avenue and Hurley Avenue in Lakewood stemming from the project that began in September.

(Photo: Google Maps/Images)
(Photo: Google Maps/Images)

In addition, crews will be installing 1.6 miles of new sidewalks while reconstructing 5.9 miles of sidewalks and installing ADA-compliant ramps.

It's expected that all the work will be done by the fall of 2025.

Work continues on the Broadway Avenue Bridge on Route 35 in Keyport

In Monmouth County, a $5.7 million bridge deck replacement project on the Broadway Avenue Bridge over Route 35 in Keyport is about 20-25 percent complete.

"We are working on stage one," Patel said. "We do have a detour in place right now, with the buy-in from the locals, and we are going full steam ahead."

Patel explains that there was more work involved with this project than originally anticipated which led to some delay but things are moving in the right direction now.

"Several areas of the structural steel were identified and that required a lot more rehabilitation than the original design called for," Patel said.

(Photo: Google Maps/Images)
(Photo: Google Maps/Images)

That means they had to change their plans around to make those unexpected repairs.

By the end of the project, you'll see upgrades done on ADA ramps, pedestrian push buttons, and traffic signals as well as work done to curbs and sidewalks and steel blast cleaning and painting.

"Our anticipated completion of construction for this project is late summer-early fall," Patel said.

Big paving project gets underway in Ocean Township

This spring, a $3.4-million slurry seal pavement preservation project gets going on Route 35 between Route 66 and County Road 32 and Industrial Way in Ocean Township.

You can expect to see a seal applied to the 3-mile stretch and should see it all wrapped up by the summer.

Patel said like with all similar types of projects their goal with this one is to have work done at night.

"So, very minimal or annoying inconvenience to the traveling public during peak hours," Patel said.

Construction on Route 57 in Monmouth County

There is construction work that is starting today, according to Monmouth County Commissioners for intersection upgrades along County Road-Route 57 from West End Court and West End Avenue in Long Branch.

By the time it's wrapped up by the end of December, you'll see a new traffic signal, road realignment, paving, a concrete curb, concrete sidewalk, ADA-compliant curb ramps and drainage improvements, according to Monmouth County Commissioners.

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Welcome to Long Branch sign (Google Street View)

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“We are pleased to begin construction on this important project which will improve safety for pedestrian and move traffic more efficiently,” Monmouth County Commissioner Director Tom Arnone said in a previous written statement. “Construction will occur in six stages to avoid unnecessary delays and disruptions to the area. We appreciate residents’ and visitors’ patience as this project begins and remind all vehicular traffic to expect some delays due to lane reductions.”

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