Some residents of Brick's barrier island section are concerned that a planned improvement project for state Route 35 could hamper their quality of life.
The state Department of Transportation has long planned an improvement project – effectively a resurfacing – of Route 35 from Point Pleasant Beach to Seaside Park, with Brick's section included as part of a three-phase plan.
But the scope of the project may recently have changed, some residents and officials have said, leading to some concerns.
Township Business Administrator Scott Pezarras said what was once a plan to resurface the state highway in one direction has evolved to become a full-scale resurfacing of both directions which may include curbs, sidewalks and new crowns of the roadway to help alleviate drainage issues.
But the improvements could come with a price. Specifically, the state has indicated it may need to use the power of eminent domain to take certain spaces adjacent to the highway, including locations where some residents park.
"People are parking off the roads on the grass," said Cummings St. resident John Kane. "As part of the improvement, they're going to put curbs in. That parking is going to be lost."
Additionally, Pezarras said, many residents have "infrastructure" within the state-owned right-of-way along the road, including flower beds, post rail fences and gardens. Those would all be removed as part of the improvement project,
"They wanted to properly notify the people that they would be taking all that down before they start the improvements," said Pezarras, adding that state surveyors were out recently taking an inventory.
Pezarras said no timeline has been set on when, exactly, Brick's portion of the Route 35 project would commence. The project will come with some benefits, however, including improved drainage in the area since the curbs and crowns may prevent rainwater and tidewater from overflowing onto residential properties.