Officials plan traffic changes to avoid Route 35 gridlock ahead of St. Patrick’s Day parade

Last month’s Polar Bear Plunge event triggered a traffic nightmare in the Seaside Heights area. (3/6/14)

SEASIDE HEIGHTS - New Jersey officials hope they have come up with a sufficient plan to prevent a repeat of an epic traffic jam along the northern Ocean County barrier island when the Seaside Heights St. Patrick's Day parade steps off this Saturday.

Thousands of people leaving the Polar Bear Plunge event last month brought traffic in the region to a standstill for more than three hours.

The main reason was an ongoing project to rebuild Route 35 from damage it sustained in Superstorm Sandy.

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Extra lanes, traffic monitors, adjustable lights and a major effort to encourage motorists to use Route 37 instead of Route 35 to leave the area are part of the plan.

Seaside Heights Mayor William Akers says that visitors headed to the parade this weekend should carpool and leave early to avoid any traffic problems.

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