Township’s hands are tied over delay of new crosswalk

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The township is waiting to hear back from the state and county on a new crosswalk to the new ShopRite, which opened on May 19. [MARK R. SULLIVAN/THE COAST STAR]

WALL TOWNSHIP — The new West Belmar Super Saker ShopRite is open for business, but one related township item has yet to be completed: a new crosswalk at the intersection of Route 35 and 18th Ave., where the store is located.

According to township administrator Jeff Bertrand, the township is unable to create the new crosswalk there itself due to jurisdictional issues: Route 35, also known as Highway 35 is a state road, and 18th Avenue is a county road.

In September 2020, township committee workshop meeting, the township passed a resolution for plans to create the new crosswalk before the new ShopRite’s grand opening at the intersection.

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The project is to include pavement crosswalk markings, installation of walk/don’t walk lights and readjusted timing of the traffic signal.

Mr. Bertrand said the cost of the project is estimated around $200,000, and the NJDOT policy is for 25 percent of the cost to be paid locally, which would be $50,000.

Mr. Bertrand had also contacted Saker ShopRite corporate officials, who agreed to pay $25,000 of the local share, which he said they still intend to do as of Wednesday.

He has also contacted Monmouth County officials, since 18th Avenue is a county road, and he is awaiting word on whether the county is willing to split with the township the remaining $25,000 of the local share of the cost of the project, he said. 

“We negotiated a negotiation between ourselves, the county and the town to pay the cost-sharing portion with the state to do the crosswalk,” Mr. Bertrand said. “We’re waiting for the cost-sharing agreement to come back from the state. Unfortunately the state moves slow normally, but they have moved extra slow during this pandemic time,” he said.

Some residents have raised safety concerns with the town about crossing the busy highway to purchase groceries. However the township says  its hands are tied on the issue until it hears from the state.

“If it was just a matter of buying a gallon of paint and painting the lines, we’d be good to go” Mr. Bertrand said.

“There is some signalization that will have to be modified there. You put the pedestrian crossing buttons there so it changes the light. That stuff has to be done.”

DUNKIN RIBBON CUTTING

The new Dunkin Donuts location at 1902 Highway 35 is slated to have a ribbon-cutting ceremony this Friday at 11 a.m., with local officials, giveaways and a $1,000 donation to a local charity.

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