Construction snarls traffic on Route 35; residents concerned about upcoming beach season
SEASIDE HEIGHTS - Jersey Shore drivers are wondering if major construction on Route 35 on the barrier islands will be ready in time for the beach season after a weekend event created a major traffic jam.
Police say thousands of people made their way to Seaside Heights Saturday, causing a massive backup on Route 35, parts of which are still under construction after Sandy.
Many drivers stuck in the heavy traffic had attended the annual Polar Bear Plunge held in Seaside Heights yesterday afternoon. The traffic was backed up for miles, spanning from Seaside Heights to Mantoloking.
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Sections of Route 35 are one-lane, with temporary traffic lights that allow northbound and southbound drivers to take turns on that one lane.
Mantoloking Police Sgt. Stacy Ferris says officers are much more efficient than the lights. "We are hoping that with the state's help maybe we can get some state troopers out here," says Ferris.
The road will get its next test in a few weeks when Seaside Heights hosts its annual St. Patrick's Day Parade. Mayor Bill Akers suggests using Route 37 as an alternate route.
Viewers sent emails to News 12 New Jersey from their cars Saturday, saying they were stuck in traffic for more than two hours.
Route 35 is currently being paved as repairs continue in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. The roadwork is expected to last two years.
The DOT says Route 35 will have two lanes open in each direction by Memorial Day.