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Route 70 Crashes Catch Township Council's Attention

Council plans to ask state officials to investigate road safety

Members of Manchester's have taken notice of the numerous — and sometimes fatal — crashes along Route 70 and said Monday evening that they will work to bring the problematic stretch of the state highway to the attention of New Jersey officials. 

"It seems that we're reading about these accidents too frequently," said council Vice President Brendan Weiner.

Six people were injured in a last September on the highway near Washington Avenue. One month later, and injured four. In December, after a head-on crash near Beckerville Road. Most recently, a head-on crash at the Route 70/571 intersection with critical injuries. Other crashes involve vehicles leaving the roadway.

Weiner recommended that the council again ask the state Department of Transportation to investigate improving the highway.

"The council has a duty to try to petition, in the form of a resolution or something of that nature — or at least have them look at — doing some improvements to the infrastructure in Manchester," he said.

Though Weiner noted that the crashes may not be entirely preventable, certain measures such as creating a dual highway or installing barriers could help make the stretch through the township safer. The incidents have become a problem, council member Sam Fusaro agreed.

"You read letters and all the police reports of all the accidents and it makes you think about what could be done," he said. 

Dual lanes in each direction of the highway could also facilitate evacuations from nearby eastern municipalities, should they ever be necessary, Weiner said.

"These roads are going to be packed with traffic," Weiner said if, for example, a storm forced Point Pleasant residents to flee their homes and come west. "We want to make sure we get all of the residents off the islands and to the inland."

Council President Craig Wallis asked that Clerk Sabina Skibo put the issue on the agenda for the council's next workshop, where it will be considered further by council members. 

Manchester should also begin looking at ways to improve its own roadways, Fusaro said. 

"I think the township should look internal as well as external at the county and state highways," he said. "We have a lot of roads that are deteriorting — potholes in the residential communities and at critical township intersections."

Fusaro recommended putting in place a plan that identifies the township roads most in need of repair.

Business Administrator Elena Zsoldos said that she met with Wallis and Weiner to discuss a long term plan for repairing Manchester roadways. 

"Basically, rating all the roads we have and then doing it in-house," Wallis said. 

He also asked that Zsoldos look into ways of completing a bike path near Harry Wright Lake that was paid for through a county grant but falls about 500 feet short of the park entrance because wetlands restrictions. 

"If nothing else, I'd ask that you get some options from the public works director of what can be done, what the ballpark [cost] is," Fusaro said, adding that a recent block grant may be an option for

"We've got a tremendous bike path, it just falls a bit short," Fusaro said. 

Mark Wendell March 13, 2012 at 09:29 PM
Hey they JUST noticed this!! Who woke them up?
Bryan March 13, 2012 at 11:04 PM
Nice to see that somethings never change! Town council is a day late & a $ short! Can you say useless? These guys sit there a toss around ideas that are completely useless! Gee let's see what the the state can do? Aka pass the buck! This way they can say we did something!
MaggieT March 14, 2012 at 02:18 PM
And, now considering a nursing facility, how many accidents will that bring to Route 70/571 with senior complexes and school buses, etc. Gee, what are our town officials doing?
Da Gr8 1 March 15, 2012 at 03:53 AM
another reason why to get rid of these idiots in council. the people of manchester have been screaming about this for years and they just finally woke up to it
Mark Wendell March 15, 2012 at 08:09 PM
The crashes at 571 and 70 are just stupidity. I mean really it's a simple intersection. Brazzaville road on the other hand is just a real dumb way to have a county road meet a state hi-way. I also think the road (I forget the name of it) that runs behind the plaza at 571 and 70 should be a road for plaza and homeowner use only. Make it end before route 70 and prevent it from being used as a cut through. There is basically 2 70/571 intersections because of this. A right hand jug lane can be added to 571/70 the state owns the triangle piece of land for it.
Mark Wendell March 15, 2012 at 08:11 PM
I am sorry for the mis-spell on Becklerville Road. I hit the spell check to fast. I meant no offense to anybody.

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