By Christopher Sheldon
The reconfiguration of Garden State Parkway Exit 105 will not happen until 2015.
Contracts for the two phases of the project have not yet been awarded, New Jersey Turnpike Authority Spokesman Thomas Feeney said this week.
"Acquiring the right of way we needed for the Hope Road portion of the project took longer than we anticipated," Feeney said. "That’s why the contract has not yet been awarded."
Feeney said the contract award will likely be on the agenda for the authority's January meeting.
The first contract will include the reconstruction of Exit 105 at the intersection of Hope Road and Route 36.
The main improvement at the Hope Road intersection will include a new ramp from the Parkway North exit that would run between a neighboring hotel and the park-and-ride, and empty out onto Hope Road. Hope Road also will be widened north and south of Route 36, with new traffic signals installed.
This will let drivers headed toward Hope Road avoid the Route 36 bottleneck that exists now from cars exiting the Parkway and turning right onto Hope Road or taking the jughandle to go on Hope Road north.
Cars headed to Hope Road north will also take this new ramp south of Route 36 and then make a left onto Hope Road at the new light and proceed to cross over Route 36, without having to bother with the jughandle.
From this same area south of Route 36, there will also be a new lane that would take drivers headed toward the Monmouth Mall from Hope Road in Tinton Falls, through the woods and onto Route 36 east, completely avoiding the now-congested intersection of Hope Road and Route 36.
The existing ramps from the Parkway South will also be widened and the jughandle will remain.
Feeney said this construction will take about a year, once the contract is awarded.
The second contract will include the construction of a new southbound connection to Wayside Road and the construction of a second northbound deceleration lane.
New Jersey Turnpike Authority officials have said this will be done improve access to Route 18 and will help ease congestion at the Hope Road/Route 36 intersection.
When the new ramp reaches Wayside Road, a traffic light will be placed at the intersection and motorists will be able to make a left or right turn.
Feeney said there have been changes made to the project in response to comments made by area residents and local officials.
"The improvements are being extended up Wayside Road to Pine Brook Road," Feeney said. "The improvements include a left turn lane onto Pine Brook from Wayside and some signal improvements."