Ocean County will spend an estimated $1.67 million to widen and improve a section of Veterans Boulevard in Berkeley Township under a contract expected to be awarded next week by the Ocean County Board of Freeholders.
Work on the stretch of road, which runs from Grand Central Parkway at the traffic light in front of Central Regional High School to Western Boulevard, is expected to begin a couple of weeks after the contract is awarded, county engineer Frank Scarantino told the board on Wednesday at its preboard meeting.
C.J. Hesse of Belford, the lowest qualified bidder, offered a contract for $1,669,669, about $200,000 less than the project was estimated to cost, Scarantino said.
It encompasses more than 4,300 feet of roadway. It will include a second eastbound lane along the stretch, which is heavily traveled, particularly in the afternoons by commuters who get off the Garden State Parkway at Exit 77 for the northern part of Lacey and much of Bayille.
Veterans Boulevard is also heavily used by traffic going to and from Central Regional High School and Middle School.
"This is an important access road to the Garden State Parkway in the central part of Berkeley Township," Freeholder Director James F. Lacey said.
In addition to the second eastbound lane, there will be improvements to the road's curves -- both in how they sit vertically and horizontally, to improve the sight distances and with banking that will improve the safety of how vehicles travel through them, Scarantino said. The shoulders also will be widened, he said.
About 2,300 feet of drainage pipe, 25 drain structures and two stormwater infiltration basins will be built to address drainage issues and naturally filter the water that drains off the road before it reaches Barnegat Bay.
Construction is expected to begin in a couple of weeks, and the contractor hopes to have most of the significant work completed by the time school starts in September, Scarantino said. The project is expected to be completed by the end of the year, he said.