The New Jersey Turnpike Authority has told residents of Toms River that a sound barrier to muffle noise from the widening of the Garden State Parkway is highly unlikely.
But the Ocean County Board of Freeholders say they're committed to trying to work with the Turnpike Authority to find a compromise.
"We’re happy about the widening," Freeholder John P. Kelly said during the freeholders' meeting in Toms River on Wednesday afternoon. "While we want this, we believe we need to be responsible to community that lives in that area."
Residents of Todd Road in Toms River, in particular, have been lobbying the Turnpike Authority to construct a sound barrier as the parkway is widened between exits 88 and 83, citing concerns about noise and safety. The Turnpike Authority has said the widening project addresses the shoulders and doesn't actually bring the lanes of the Parkway closer to homes. Turnpike officials also say the project is using sound-dampening pavement to further lessen the noise.
Kelly noted the freeholders have received a number of phone calls from residents seeking their intervention in the situation.
"We think this is a legitimate request," Kelly said.
"We know the residents are very concerned," Freeholder Joseph H. Vicari said. "We want a working relationship (with the Turnpike Authority). We think we can come up with a compromise."