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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.

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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