Friday, October 16, 2015

Crest announces project details for reconstruction of Pacific Avenue


The Wildwood Crest Board of Commissioners has approved a plan for the reconstruction of the northern end of Pacific Avenue that includes utility improvements consisting of the replacement of sewer mains and gas, water and storm drainage lines; road surfacing; and concrete work. The work will complete the project that was begun in the spring of 2015.

The commission also approved the creation of colorful, grass-covered and tree-lined medians along Pacific Avenue from Morning Glory Road to Primrose Road.

Estimated total cost of the project is $2.5 million, of which more than $2 million is for the street utility, paving and concrete work from Cresse Avenue to Rambler Road. Median construction costs are estimated to be $465,000, or approximately 18 percent of the total cost of the project. The borough recently received a $175,000 municipal aid grant from the New Jersey Department of Transportation that is limited for use on Pacific Avenue between Cresse Avenue and Rambler Road. The NJDOT grant funds come with a limited timeline to spend the funds, without jeopardizing the grant.

The project was approved by the Board of Commissioners by a vote of two to one. Mayor Carl Groon and Commissioner Don Cabrera voted in favor of the project. Commissioner Joyce Gould voted against the project, citing her opposition to the proposed medians.

The street construction project is scheduled to begin in early December and is expected to be complete in May, in time for the 2016 summer season.

“Funding was approved at the (Oct. 7) meeting and will be in place by Nov. 2,” said Cabrera, the Commissioner of Public Works. “It is important to note that this project is on a tight timeline. Any changes to the approved plan will delay this project into the fall of 2016 and beyond. I think our residents and visitors would appreciate this project being complete as quickly as possible. I don’t think any of us want to go through another summer with the roadway like it is currently.

“I think our residents and business owners will like the look we are proposing on the rendering, which we will introduce hopefully by next meeting.”

Medians will be constructed for multiple purposes, including but not limited to the following:

– Medians are a recognized engineering method to calm traffic, according to the borough engineer and the Wildwood Crest Police Department.

– Medians will eliminate two lanes of traffic in each direction for a roadway whose traffic volume does not warrant two lanes of traffic in each direction, according to the police department. Currently, crossing of four lanes of traffic by pedestrians and bicyclists poses many unnecessary risks, according to the police department, which believes the medians will enable pedestrians to cross Pacific Avenue more safely.

– Landscaped medians and the reduction to lanes of traffic will create a greater residential feel along Pacific Avenue, according to the borough engineer, and are expected to increase property values and encourage and increase further residential development and improvement in the area.

– Medians will create a gateway entrance and exit to the borough, particularly in the northern end of the borough.

The landscaped medians, which will be located in the center of the roadway, will be 12 feet wide and will be constructed with sloped concrete curb, landscaping, trees, topsoil and sod and will be irrigated. Maintenance of the new medians is not expected to create extra costs for the borough, according to Cabrera. Maintenance costs will be absorbed by the Wildwood Crest Department of Public Works within the parameters of its annual operating budget.

Upon completion of the project, the entire length of Pacific Avenue in Wildwood Crest, from Cresse Avenue at the northern border to Jefferson Avenue at the southern border, will be one lane in each direction. Driving-lane widths from Morning Glory Road to Rambler Road will be 16 feet.

“The additional cost of these medians is an investment into safety, aesthetics and improved value, which helps our ratable base,” said Groon, who also serves as the Commissioner of Public Safety. “This project will not hinder fire trucks, ambulance, safety or emergency access vehicles along Pacific Avenue. We have already found that the reduction of lanes from four to two along the southern end of Seaview Avenue and the addition of medians along New Jersey Avenue near Crest Memorial School have greatly increased safety and have enhanced the neighborhoods in those areas.”

The rest of the Pacific Avenue construction project includes replacement of deteriorated sanitary sewer mains and sanitary service laterals. Replacement of deteriorated storm sewer mains will also be completed.

In addition, portions of the concrete curbs and park strip areas between the curb and the sidewalk will be replaced at all locations disturbed during the completion of the required utility improvements. Replacement of concrete curbing will mostly be limited to the areas disturbed during the utility work. However, the balance of all deteriorated concrete gutters will be replaced as part of this project.

In anticipation of this project, the Borough of Wildwood Crest secured a New Jersey Department of Community Affairs Community Development Block Grant to partially fund the required replacement of all handicap curb ramps for the purpose of making them fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The law requires all curb ramps to be brought into full ADA compliance whenever a street is resurfaced, repaved or reconstructed. The NJDCA CDBG grant comes with a limited timeline to spend the funds. Due to that timeline, the borough immediately proceeded with the replacement of the curb ramps as a standalone project in the late spring and early summer of 2015.

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