Project will realign Halls Mill Road in two towns, improve conditions on Route 524

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Significant road improvements to Halls Mill Road and Elton-Adelphia Road (Route 524) in Freehold Township and Howell are expected to be completed by the summer of 2021 and will include wider roads, new traffic signals and new bridges.

The project will be federally funded and construction will take place over 1.9 miles. An estimate for the cost of the project has not been provided at this time.

Project Manager Peter Drinkwater of T&M Associates presented an overview of the project at the Howell municipal building on May 31. A public meeting was also held at the Freehold Township municipal building the same day. Attendees had an opportunity to review plans for the project and ask questions.

“Monmouth County has identified several primary goals for the project. The main thing is that we want to improve driver safety and pedestrian safety within the project limits, and improve the traffic circulation because we know it is a very congested intersection, particularly at Halls Mill Road and Route 524,” Drinkwater said.

The Halls Mill Road project has been in the work since the 1980s when Freehold Township initially conducted studies regarding the realignment of Halls Mill Road between Three Brooks Road and Route 524.  Jurisdiction for the project subsequently switched to Monmouth County. The county led a scoping study in 2007.

“County officials understood it is a very expensive project to construct so they went for federal funding,” Drinkwater said.

As part of the federal process, an environmental assessment had to be undertaken and that was completed by 2009. Subsequent to that there was a public hearing in 2011. The project moved forward in 2012 when a finding of “no significant impact” was issued.

According to accident data, there were 94 crashes in the designated project area between 2013 and 2015.

“We also want to replace some of the obsolete bridge structures that are out there and the overall infrastructure itself which is in a state of disrepair,” Drinkwater said.

There are three bridges in the project area that are considered to be functionally obsolete and structurally deficient.

The project will include the realignment of Halls Mill Road, which will result in Halls Mill Road ending on Route 524 opposite Edinburgh Drive. At the present time, Halls Mill Road and Edinburgh Drive both intersect Route 524, but not opposite each other.

The project will include a new traffic signal at Edinburgh Drive and Route 9; a new traffic signal at Halls Mill Road, Edinburgh Drive and Route 524; and a new traffic signal at Halls Mill and Three Brooks roads.

Other improvements will include the creation of a cul-de-sac on Spyglass Hill Road; a pedestrian crossing beacon on Edinburgh Drive at Kapalua Court and Wentworth Drive; sidewalks on Route 524; and enhanced lighting. Left turn lanes will be included at all signalized intersections.

The goals during the project are to maintain one lane of traffic in each direction for the duration of construction and to maintain access for pedestrians at all times.

“We are proposing to install two pedestrian bridges on Route 524 (Elton-Adelphia Road). We know that road is extremely narrow, there is no sidewalk. Those temporary bridges will help pedestrians get through during construction,” Drinkwater said. “We do not anticipate any long-term detours. Detours are permitted for one construction shift at a time. So a road may be closed overnight, but it will open back up in the morning.”

A final design submission of the project will be provided to the New Jersey Department of Transportation this summer. Officials hope to obtain federal authorization by the fall. Advertising for the construction of the project is planned for the fall and winter of this year. The construction contract is planned to be awarded in early 2019, with construction planned to start by spring of 2019. The project’s planned completion is the summer of 2021.