Asbury Park officials and residents are seeking to have New Jersey Transit buses use Asbury Avenue as the detour route for the Sunset Avenue Bridge project rather than Fourth Avenue, which runs entirely through residential neighborhoods.
“The city did not do the best planning (for the detour), especially using Fourth Avenue,” resident Daniel Weiss said at this week’s City Council workshop.
On Feb. 25, the council created the Sunset Avenue Bridge Traffic Safety Liaison Committee, a volunteer group of city residents concerned about the detour route during the closing of the Sunset Avenue Bridge.
The Sunset Avenue Bridge, which crosses Deal Lake between the Wanamassa section of Ocean Township and Asbury Park, closed at the end of January and will remain closed for an estimated 454 days under a $9 million to $10 million state Department of Transportation funded project to replace the bridge.
The projected date for the bridge to reopen is May 27, 2016
Weiss, who is a committee member, said the detour route is not only being used by cars but also by trucks and New Jersey Transit buses and the condition of the street on Fourth Avenue was poor to begin with, but it is quickly deteriorating even more.
The city has requested funding from the Monmouth County Board of Freeholders to repave sections of the street.
The liaison committee recently met with area legislators and other officials involved with the project and a proposal was presented to have the NJT buses use Asbury Avenue instead of Fourth Avenue as their temporary detour route. Asbury Avenue is a county-owned road.
Weiss called the buses “ghost buses” because there are seldom any people on them.
“But (NJT) wants a traffic study first,” he said.
Weiss said that NJT representatives were not at the recent meeting but it is expected the committee will be able to meet with them in the near future.
Mayor John Moor said that he supports the traffic study but added that the county should pay for it.
“It’s their road, they need to do the study,” he said.
A proposal was also presented to recalibrate the traffic lights on Asbury Avenue to better help traffic move along. Moor suggested permanently removing some traffic lights at certain intersections.