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Tinton Falls officials await final report regarding Hance and Sycamore improvements

TINTON FALLS – A presentation from Monmouth County officials is expected this fall with a final recommendation for improvements at and near the intersection of Hance and Sycamore avenues in Tinton Falls.

Both roads are under the jurisdiction of the county.

The intersection has been the subject of comment by a former mayor and a former county freeholder at two meetings in recent weeks.

Speaking at the Borough Council meeting on Aug. 13, council President Gary Baldwin said Tinton Falls representatives have sought a solution to issues at the intersection for 15 years. He said the council and administration are waiting for a presentation from county representatives in the fall.

Gerald Turning, a former mayor, former business administrator and former police chief in Tinton Falls, told the Monmouth County Board of Freeholders on Aug. 7 that the intersection of Hance and Sycamore avenues is “a ticking time bomb.”

Turning repeated those concerns during the public comment portion of the council’s Aug. 13 meeting. He said an accident that resulted in a fatality recently occurred at the intersection.

During the past year, Monmouth County officials presented several options for improvements at and near the intersection. The options included adding multiple lanes and a traffic signal.

Freeholder Director Tom Arnone said the options involve the acquisition of property.

Arnone told Turning it is the board’s policy not to proceed with improvements until the governing body in the municipality where improvements are proposed has passed a resolution supporting the work that is anticipated.

The Borough Council has not passed such a resolution regarding improvements at Hance and Sycamore avenues.

“They county wants a resolution from the council saying you are in favor of moving forward,” Turning told municipal officials. “The county does not want to move forward unless you want to move forward.

“I understand the people who live there, they don’t want their quality of life changed. That time bomb is still ticking. I hope you (council members) understand why it has to be done, even if people are going to lose a little property. The county could do it tomorrow if they have a mind to. It’s only a policy, not a law, that they have to obtain the council’s support,” Turning said.

Resident Ron Wollner said, “I have been told since 2006 that improvements would be made at the intersection. Guess what? Someone died. Please, let’s fix this damn thing.”

Resident Frank Self, a former Monmouth County freeholder, also attended the Aug. 7 freeholders meeting and the Aug. 13 council meeting. Self told the freeholders he was almost killed at the intersection of Hance and Sycamore avenues.

Resident William Devizia told the council members “there is opposition (to improvements). People are unsatisfied with what the county is suggesting. At locations in Little Silver and in Middletown, the county did what they should do here, they put in a light without widening the entire area. If the county cared about safety there would already be a light there.”

Baldwin said, “I regret the fact there has been a serious (fatal) accident there.”

Councilwoman Nancyanne Fama said she opposed a resolution which outlined improvements at the intersection when one was before the council within the past year because of the significant scope of the planned improvements.

Fama said she wants county representatives to answer the following question: Why can’t a traffic light and an additional turning lane, instead of multiple new lanes, be constructed at the intersection?

Fama said she would wait for county’s final report regarding improvements and would re-evaluate her position on a council resolution at that time.

Council Vice President John Manginelli said when the county issues its final report and recommendation, “I am not going to send the county back to the drawing board. Whatever they recommend, I’m voting for. We’ve been talking about this for 10 years.”

Monmouth County engineer Joseph Ettore told Turning and Self on Aug. 7 that a series of interim improvements have been made at Hance and Sycamore avenues in an attempt to improve the situation. Ettore said the roads would have to be widened before a traffic light could be installed.

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