Freeholders eye 2022 start for Tennent Road improvements in Manalapan

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MANALAPAN – Plans for improvements to a 3-mile-long corridor on Main Street/Tennent Road in Manalapan are continuing to take shape, but work on the project is not expected to begin prior to 2022.

The project was discussed during the Nov. 26 meeting of the Monmouth County Board of Freeholders in Freehold Borough.

Main Street/Tennent Road is a county road (Route 3) and the freeholders are undertaking the work. Improvements will be made between Route 527 (Millhurst Road) and Kensington Drive/Woodland Circle.

On Nov. 26, the county’s governing body passed a resolution that authorizes CME Associates of Parlin to provide additional engineering services at an increased cost of $899,976 regarding final design of the project.

According to the resolution, the freeholders previously authorized a contract with
CME Associates to provide engineering services in connection with the final design of road improvements to Main Street/Tennent Road. The maximum expenditure was not to exceed $1.5 million.

However, during the design of the proposed improvements, it became necessary to provide additional engineering services for the realignment of Craig Road and the reconstruction
of Bridge MN-52, additional cultural resource and historic architectural studies requested by
the State Historic Preservation Office (relating to Monmouth Battlefield and the Old Tennent Church cemetery), and the efforts to secure federal funding for construction and construction administration services of the project, according to the resolution.

Those services were not anticipated in the original CME Associates scope of work and the firm requested an additional $899,976 to provide the required unanticipated design services.

According to the resolution, the county engineer reviewed the firm’s proposal and recommended that the additional authorization be granted. The freeholders voted to authorize the requested funding and authorized CME Associates to perform the additional work as outlined in a proposal dated Oct. 25, 2019.

The revised authorized expenditure for the firm’s services is now $2.4 million.

Monmouth County Engineer Joseph Ettore said Craig Road will be realigned to improve safety at its intersection with Tennent Road. He said the county plans to apply for federal funding through the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority. Work on the project could commence in 2022, Ettore told the freeholders.

Previously, the freeholders authorized the acquisition of right-of-way for the construction of the improvements. The freeholders authorized the expenditure of $850,000 for title searches, appraisal and legal services, and compensation for the acquisition of the needed properties.

County officials previously said that due to the length and scope of the project, the improvements will be constructed in three phases to minimize the overall disruption to traffic on Tennent Road.

The purpose of the project is to relieve congestion and improve the safety along Tennent Road for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians, according to county officials.

Plans are to widen Tennent Road to provide a 36-foot-wide typical section south of the Craig Road intersection and a 40-foot-wide typical section north of the Craig Road intersection. These sections provide one 12-foot-wide travel lane and either a 6-foot or an 8-foot wide shoulder in either direction, according to a press release.

The preferred alternative includes the replacement of eight bridge/culvert structures, the installation and/or reconstruction of five intersections that have a traffic light, the reconstruction of an at grade railroad crossing, utility relocations, storm water management facilities and the design of additional features such as a guide rail, curbing, drainage and lighting, according to the press release.

Additional turning lanes, the upgrading/replacement of existing traffic signal equipment and traffic signal timing improvements are proposed at the Millhurst Road (Route 527), Freehold-Englishtown Road (Route 522), Craig Road and Taylors Mills Road intersections with Tennent Road. A new traffic signal is proposed at the intersection of Tennent Road and Church Lane, according to the press release.