Barnegat Avenue to Become County Road in Surf City

Jun 28, 2017
Photo by: Ryan Morrill Barnegat Ave. in Surf City.

Chances are if you’ve ever attempted to beat the summer traffic snares going north on Long Beach Island you’ve made the lefthand turn onto Barnegat Avenue for the journey, and dodged potholes along the way. If you live in the area or have traveled it a time or two before, you know it’s prone to flooding. You also know that even at 25 mph your vehicle feels like it’s going to lift off when you hit a bump a certain way.

There’s no question the residential roadway, dotted with homes and divided by a tree-lined median, has issues. It was a recurring topic at the recent Surf City Taxpayer Association meeting with the news from Mayor Francis Hodgson that borough and county officials are hammering out details to transfer ownership, and therefore jurisdiction, of the road to Ocean County.

If the deal comes to fruition – it’s 99 percent approved but needs to be finalized, the mayor said – Surf City would assume responsibility for Ninth Street while the county takes over Barnegat Avenue. So, what does that mean for the public? Not much, according to Ocean County Engineer John Ernst.

“It’s not something that is visible,” he said. “It’s just something that is handled. We become responsible for drainage, signs and striping, edge of the pavement to edge of the pavement. We’re not responsible for sidewalks and curbs.”

Among the items that still need to be hammered out are a planned repaving project for the roadway. Councilwoman Jacqueline Siciliano announced at the council’s June 14 meeting the borough received $260,000 in grant money from the state Department of Transportation to help with the cost of repaving and reconstructing a portion of the road. That money was earmarked this year and is expected to be used for Barnegat Avenue from Fifth Street to Third Street, she said. Grant monies from 2015 and 2016 are being used for Barnegat Avenue from the 11th Street to North Fifth Street. She said the work is expected to start after Labor Day.

“We’re pleased to be receiving the money,” Siciliano said, noting the governor had placed a stop work order on DOT projects and that delayed the process.

At the meeting, the council unanimously awarded a $733,612 bid to C.J. Hesse Inc. for the work, the lowest bid of four received by the borough. All bids were reviewed by the borough engineer and attorney with the recommendation that Hesse be awarded the work.

— Gina G. Scala

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