EAST BRUNSWICK – Dunhams Corner Road will receive needed reconstruction after U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-12) presented East Brunswick and South Brunswick with $1.6 million in federal funds for the roadway’s improvements.
Coleman visited the Community Arts Center in East Brunswick, alongside East Brunswick Mayor Brad Cohen, South Brunswick Mayor Charlie Carley, East Brunswick Council members and South Brunswick municipal officials on Sept. 1 to announce the delivery of $1.6 million in federal funds.
“When you see those concrete roads with the cement in the middle that means it was put down before World War II started. It is an old road, and it is time,” Carley said.
The roadway that borders East Brunswick and South Brunswick would be one of the projects advocated for federal funding due to its priority by local officials and Coleman.
“This has been a road and an issue that has been raised in our company, since I got elected to Congress and I have tremendous respect for this neck of the woods and know how this road is traveled,” Coleman said.
Dunhams Corner Road shared by East Brunswick and South Brunswick is more than 40 years old. The $1.6 million in funds will help repave a significant concrete portion of the road.
Carley said without federal funding South Brunswick would likely not be able to reconstruct its portion of Dunhams Corner Road.
“The repaving is one thing, but the vision that has been put forth by Mayor Cohen and his administration has greenways, walking paths and bike paths and there is a bridge out there that needs to be replaced,” he said. “Cumulatively, this is going to be an expensive project.”
A bike and walk path between Crystal Springs Family Water Park and the East Brunswick Community Arts Center is part of the improvements and will allow people to get between most East Brunswick recreational areas and township, according to Cohen.
Improvements also include the construction of a drainage system on the roadway.
“I do not think it would have been possible to do this roadway project without these funds. First of all, it is very expensive and would have had to been arranged by two different townships, which is a lot harder to do than when you get federal funding,” Cohen said.
He noted that East Brunswick would have to take all of its budget for road repairs in 2022 just to do East Brunswick’s half of the road.
“We are hoping the project can start within the next year. The idea is to be able to go out to contractors and get the cheapest rate,” Cohen said. “The middle of the summer is not the time.”
East Brunswick and South Brunswick officials described the roadway as something that is “desperately in need of repairs.”
“Concrete roads are even more difficult to repair more than most asphalt roads you see. It is extremely time intensive and very expensive,” Cohen said.
The $1.6 million in federal funding comes from a $1.5 trillion omnibus spending bill passed and signed into law in March 2022.
Appropriation Committee guidelines allowed each representative to request Community Project Funding for up to 10 projects in their communities for the fiscal year 2022.
For 2023, the number of requests by representatives has increased to 15 projects.
U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, who is a member of the House Appropriations Committee, said it is important to bring funds back to New Jersey, because the state is ascending.
“This is an active community and area and as part of the 12th Congressional District it is vitally important for me to identify projects that have been sort of on the books, on the table, in the plans, but will uplift the quality of life in my communities,” she said.