By Alan Karmin
When Raceway Park on Pension Road in Old Bridge closed in 2018, it was believed drag racing would cease in the township. But apparently, the sport has been resurrected by some young drivers using other roads in the community, including Route 9 and Route 516, according to local residents.
Anyone who has driven along the Route 9 corridor – between Ernston Road to the north and
Spring Valley Road to the south – has probably experienced the sounds of revved engines, loud mufflers and souped up vehicles with darkened windows racing past on either side of them. The situation occurs during the day and the night.
And it has spilled over onto Route 516, specifically in the Sayrewoods South area. Reportedly, the drivers are congregating in the parking lot of the strip mall formerly known as Browntown Shopping Plaza near Gaub Road.
“They are terrorizing the neighborhood,” Denise D., a local resident who asked not to be
identified by her full name, said. “The noise is extremely loud and they are creating a dangerous situation for drivers and pedestrians. Not only is it a nuisance, but someone will eventually get hurt.”
Old Bridge police have been notified of the presence of the vehicles, but have been somewhat powerless to stop it.
“Traffic and Safety (officers) are out there monitoring the area and looking to enforce the laws as effectively and efficiently as they can,” explained Lt. Brian Smalley, who is familiar with the matter.
“A big part of the problem is that (the New Jersey Motor Vehicles Commission) did away with equipment inspection and so when people make additions and modifications to their vehicles, it virtually goes undetected until the police catch up with them for various violations,” he said.
Smalley said young people do what they do to have their fun, but he said the Old Bridge Police Department is out there to enforce the law to the best of its abilities with the resources they have available.
There have been motor vehicle accidents, some which have involved pedestrians, that have caused serious injuries and fatalities in the area.
However, Smalley does not believe the “drag racers” are to blame, not for all of that, anyway.
“While they may be a nuisance, I don’t think you can put the blame there,” said Smalley. “I
think a lot of what has caused the incidents has been distractions and cell phone usage.”
Residents are hoping something can be done to put a halt to the drag racing.
“I have reached out to the mayor, to the police, to see if anything can be done, but it has fallen on deaf ears,” said Denise D. “These kids are controlling the town and I don’t understand how parents aren’t up in arms. I spoke to some of my neighbors, but they don’t want to get involved for fear of retaliation.”