HAZLET – Since the county’s Laurel Avenue bridge reconstruction project over Waackaack Creek began in September, a lot of traffic has been detoured off Laurel and onto 10th Street in Hazlet.
10th Street is a straight run into Keansburg. There it becomes Church Street and connects drivers with Carr Avenue and the downtown.
Some living along 10th Street have complained their residential street has become a speedway. After making their case to the traffic department, the police department has returned a recommendation to lower the speed limit from 30 to 25 mph from Laurel Avenue to the Keansburg border. The Township Committee will hold a public hearing Nov. 18 on a new ordinance to make it permanent
“I just hope it slows everybody down,” said Hazlet Committeeman Michael Sachs, who grew up on a nearby street in the West Keansburg section. “The message is to slow down your speed. You have to be cautious of kids – they can run out on the street at any given time.”
If the ordinance is passed, motorists will typically see radar speed sign and other indicators to alert them to the speed limit change.
The work on the bridge began Sept. 9 and is expected to last until Memorial Day, 2020, when the summertime crowd heads to Keansburg for the amusements, water park and beach.
Joan Gaughran has lived on 10th Street with her family for nearly 35 years. Speeding has always been a problem, she said, and her children were not allowed to play on the street. Nowadays, her concern is for her granddaughter, a special education student who gets picked up in front of her house.
“Sometimes these drivers do not even stop for the bus,” she said. “The deputy chief saw my concern about this and has had a police officer watching from time to time. But there are other children who cross the street to walk to the bus stop, or just outside playing after school. There is absolutely no reason to go that fast.”
In August 2018, the county freeholder board approved Lucas Construction Group of Red Bank’s bid of nearly $5 million to reconstruct the bridge between Hazlet Township and Keansburg borough. The county paid KIB Enterprises of Keansburg $20,000 for a permanent easement and PS Marine Services of Keansburg $16,000 for a permanent slope and maintenance easement.
The two lane bridge, known as R-11, was built in 1933 but in recent years deemed “structurally deficient,” according to data on the NationalBridges.com website. In 2015, it was estimated to handle 7,875 vehicles.