Township Council: State Should Study Route 70 Safety

Resolution passed Monday urges state action after years of serious crashes

Following years of serious and sometimes deadly crashes along Manchester's stretch of Route 70, the approved a resolution Monday evening urging New Jersey officials to complete a traffic study and evaluation of the state highway.

Since January of this year, Route 70 has seen 44 motor vehicle crashes. Of those, one person was killed and 18 crash caused "serious bodily injury," according to the council. In 2011, four people were killed in crashes along the state highway. A total of 197 crashes occurred that year, with 54 of them causing serious injury, the council said. 

"The state Department of Transportation has failed to move forward with a greatly needed plan to widen this section of Route 70 and address these serious concerns," states the council resolution directed to the New Jersey Department of Transportation, Manchester officials and 10th Legislative District representatives. 

The resolution passed by the council urges the NJDOT to evaluate Route 70 in Manchester to "determine a solution to alleviate traffic and address the often dangerous and fatal accidents" on the highway.

Last week, two serious incidents occurred on the same day. A 60-year-old township man .

Council President Craig Wallis said that inattentive drivers, rather than the highway itself, seem to be the problem. 

"There aren't physical problems with cars or medical reasons of people," he said. "We need to pay attention when driving on these roads."

The council has petitioned the state before for help with what it in the resolution calls a "dangerous and potentialy fatal stretch of road." Members decided again to urge the state to take action last month. 

"It seems that we're reading about these accidents too frequently," said council Vice President Brendan Weiner at the governing body's March 12 regular meeting.

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. 

Dual lanes in each direction of the highway — which runs through Manchester from the township's borders with Toms River to the east and Pemberton to the west — 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."

Patrolman Doug Higgins of the Manchester Township Police Department's Traffic Safety Section has also weighed in on the issue, saying that center lane barriers would likely cut back on the amount of serious crashes on the highway.

omad April 24, 2012 at 01:43 PM
Amen to that. It takes a bulldog attitude to get these things done. Sink your teeth in and hang on until you get what you need.
ray April 24, 2012 at 01:56 PM
Try correlating the age of the drivers with frequency of crashes.
WhitingBoy April 24, 2012 at 03:49 PM
The Township is correct to push the State to make changes where they can (I can only imagine that five-year nightmare road repair project!!). The Township should also consider any options they have to mitigate the problems until that time. I think they should consider more awareness of alternative methods of travel and encourage off-peak driving for folks that may have the schedule availability. Additionally, they should look into seeing if there are low cost adjustments they can make to back streets (perhaps cutting though a dead-end to link neighborhoods, giving slower drivers an option to go from point A to point B without encountering a fast-paced Route 70?). Perhaps they can se if they can partner with senior villages and local business to share the cost of shuttles to and form (it would benefit the business, benefit the township by keeping the streets safer, and give the communities another selling point). These all may be bad ideas, but I think the council needs to discuss any options rather than just waiting for the State to save us.
KingNeptune April 24, 2012 at 11:30 PM
Elderly drivers are the 500 pound gorilla in the room that many don't want to talk about. Until drivers are re-tested after a certain age, which will never happen in NJ, this carnage will continue.
skizma April 25, 2012 at 09:56 AM
ONLY in NJ is Route 70 one lane.....go across the country and see how Route 70 is a major HIGHWAY. I have driven that road enough to know, first, there has never been one snake on the road. We see very very few, rarely any, dead kill on the side of the road. parkway, yes. This road, all through Cherry Hill, ought to be fully updated and ready for the 20th century. Two lanes would be minimum all the way through. What are they waiting for? Oh, using our money to their own advantage. Get it done!
Artist/Engineer April 25, 2012 at 12:54 PM
Skizma, did you mean to say across the state not the country? Route 70 is a NJ State highway, not a US route. Ready for the 20th Century? It's been the 21st Century for over a decade.
Artist/Engineer April 25, 2012 at 01:08 PM
It also takes a whole lot of money and the state is in pretty bad financial condition right now. I too am concerned about the number of terrible accidents on Rt 70. Some jug handles and revisions to key intersections that have high accident rates would help in some areas, driver testing for seniors might help too.
BettyBoop April 25, 2012 at 01:22 PM
the problem isn't just the seniors, although they ARE a problem, it's also that there are NO street lights along miles of rt70 and at night that creates a BIG problem!, Plus, there is a small diner in Lakehurst called Sandy's and their parking lot is inappropriately small and sits right across form a convenience store that ALSO has a lot of business and when 2 cars are exiting both of those parking lots there is ALWAYS the risk of a collision on that stretch of rt 70 and in the past year right in THAT area there have been several accidents also coming off the rt 70 circle near the Dollar Store Plaza, there are plenty of accidents because people are driving so fast to get around it that they don't yield for drivers who slow to make turns into the various businesses and side streets in that area, its a mess, there should be a police car parked right at the circle in my opinion just so that there is a visible "warning" to slow down.
Joe h. Goldstein April 25, 2012 at 03:45 PM
If you check your maps, I-70 is an interstate highway. I-70 originates in Maryland, and terminates in Utah. Route 70 is a 100% state road that was built in the first half of the 20th Century, and it has all of the "features" that come with its antiquity. It needs barriers to offset head-on collisions; a minimum of two lanes in each direction; jug handles, dedicated right turn-off lanes, and traffic lights at each intersection. In summary, it needs to be rebuilt for the 21st Century. The real problem is that there is no money for such an undertaking. So people are going to have to use their heads when driving it; not just their right foot.
Da Gr8 1 April 26, 2012 at 03:12 AM
it took someone to die for the idiots in council to finally do something about it. we have all been complaining about this road for years. make it a 4 lane highway from rt 527 thru green acers to 571 thru lakehurst and out to the county line and put a light at beckerville/horicon rd and 70. why is this so hard to figure out??? ill gladly deal with 6 months of construction to finally fix this decrepit road. if i can survive the lauerlton circle then i can survive anything
Sandra Couto April 26, 2012 at 04:02 PM
A resolution isn't worth the time it takes to pass it. "We hereby resolve that . . ." End of story. resolutions are non-binding & make the public think their municipal goverments are doing something. Results are needed. Yes, the state is in a dire financial situation. What state isn't, but money is found for other projects. The deplorably unsafe condition of parts of Rte. 70, and yes, unattentive/impaired drivers are taking lives & wreeking property damage. It's time for action-not merely talk, (resolutions). It's time for residents to get o the phone & write letters to elected state officials. The time for action is now!
Bryan April 26, 2012 at 06:08 PM
Resolutions are wothless! I drive 70 every day to work in the early/ late night hours & most of the crashes are driver error! Not passing when safe,speeding, tailgating, and falling asleep! I dont think making it 2 lanes & adding jug handles ( by the way we are one of the few states where you go right to make a left everywhere else its turn signal) is worth the cost! It will make speeds go up. Look at 571 made it 2 lanes & drivers do 60 /70 mph thru pine lake area. People just need to learn to drive safely
Tara Cunningham July 23, 2012 at 03:55 AM
My sister is dead because some idiot tried to pass out another driver, she went head on with my sister in her lane. Barriers would stop that. Ignorant drivers will always be ignorant-- it's the good people that get hurt.
Traveller July 23, 2012 at 11:49 AM
Please, something MUST be done at 70 & Manchester Blvd, and at 70 & 530/539. Please, before more death and injury, please do something now, please, someone step up and prevent more tragedy. Bigger picture to the state: seniors MUST be tested at certain ages for driving abilities.


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