After delaying the anticipated date of completion, construction along Route 530 in Whiting is expected to be completed in late November, Township Council members announced this week.
Council Vice President Brendan Weiner said Monday that he spoke with Ocean County Engineer Frank Scarantino last week and was informed that the improvements to the county highway between Schoolhouse Road and Route 539 are expected to be completed by Thanksgiving.
"[Scarantino] told me that the number one priority is the drainage," Weiner said, adding that the engineer said that basins should be installed by October and asphalt can then be laid.
Freeholder John P. Kelly has said the project includes 4,000 feet of new sidewalks, five new left-turn lanes at intersections, wider shoulders, a new traffic signal, three storm drainage basins and restoration of the rail crossing near Station Road, which has been completed.
The changes to the two miles of Route 530, also known as Lacey Road, $4.07 million under the contract awarded to C.J. Hesse Inc., of Belford. That is $100,000 under the estimated cost.
The original date of completion was June 20, said Councilmember Warren Reiter. The delay, he said, could be attributed to "a lot of flaws in the design" and Hesse dividing its resources with a Garden State Parkway project.
"He's been shifting his men from one place to the other," Reiter said. "They have not had as many people on the job as I feel that they should have."
A representative for Scarantino said in June that "unanticipated delays with utility relocations and weather" caused the extended construction timeframe.
Reiter acknowledged that there is much to consider when major renovations to a highway are undertaken.
"People think that when you build a road, you pave it and that's the end of it," he said. "There's a lot of electric work and side things and so on."
A protracted construction schedule has meant slower travel for drivers, as the speed limit has been lowered to 25 mph, even when construction workers are not present.
Travel in the work area is always 25 mph, according to Capt. Lisa Parker.
"The new speed limit, which has been authorized and approved through resolution by both the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders as well as the Office of the County Engineer, is in effect 24 hours a day and not just when construction workers are present," .