New Jersey residents can look forward to a toll increase after the first of the year, but the good news is that the increase will raise the funds needed to upgrade infrastructure, according to www.mycentraljersey.com.
Higher tolls ring in the New Year for NJ
Tolls will go up 50% on both the Garden State Parkway and the New Jersey Turnpike on Sunday, with the increased revenue going into the $7 billion capital program to upgrade roads and bridges, officials said.
The program includes replacing about 28 aging bridges on the Parkway as part of an expanded project to add shoulders and widen lanes between Wall and Toms River.
Richard Raczynski, the New Jersey Turnpike Authority’s chief engineer, said the shoulder and widening project will likely be increased by $50 million in order to replace bridges on that section of highway dating to the 1950s, when the Parkway was constructed. The original shoulder-widening project was budgeted at $260 million.
“Because they are five or six decades old, the decks are pretty battered, so the engineers have recommended that we go ahead and replace the decks at the same time the shoulder widening is being done,” said Tom Feeney, authority spokesman.
The bridge work, along with the shoulder widening, is currently in design, he said. Plans call for completing the final designs and advertising for construction bids at the end of 2012.
That capital program includes money that would have funded part of the canceled second Hudson River rail tunnel, which Gov. Chris Christie put the kibosh on in 2010. The money now will be used for projects on the two toll roads, said Veronique Hakim, executive director.
Among the biggest projects are the ongoing multimillion-dollar widenings of the Parkway through Ocean and Atlantic counties and the Turnpike through Middlesex and Mercer counties.
The Turnpike widening between Exits 6 and 9 will result in six lanes in both directions.