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Town Reaches Tentative Agreement for NJ Turnpike Sound Wall

Mayor announces cost sharing plan with NJ Turnpike Authority to mitigate noise issues for residents of Lawrence Brook.

After months of negotiations, weary residents of East Brunswick's Lawrence Brook neighborhood may finally find some relief from the noise pollution of the ongoing Exit 9 expansion project.

Mayor David Stahl announced at Monday's Township Council meeting a deal to construct a sound wall that will provide a buffer for residents of Lawrence Brook from the issues that have arisen as a result of the project.

"I'm very pleased to announce tonight, that after months of working with representatives of the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, that we've reached a tentative agreement to construct a sound wall barrier to better protect the Lawrence Brook neighborhood," Stahl said during the meeting.

Residents of Lawrence Brook previously asked the Turnpike Authority during a public meeting in August to build a barrier wall between their properties and the roadway. Concerns exist over a potential drop in the value of homes due to the increased noise from traffic and construction, concerns for possible structural damage from the constant vibration, and safety issues.

In June, the Turnpike Authority halted construction at Westons Mill Road for a few weeks while a study was conducted on the effect of vibrations generated by the construction on nearby homes.

The Exit 9 expansion project includes widening the ramp that connects Route 18 southbound and the turnpike to two lanes, and improving the exit ramp merging onto Route 18 north. Turnpike officials have said the Exit 9 project is vital for operational and safety improvements to deal with a high volume of traffic entering and exiting the toll plaza. 

Mayor Stahl said in reaching the agreement they utilized data from a sound study, along with input from residents affected by the project.

"We all know the Turnpike has rigid standards on how to make the determination on whether a wall will be constructed or not," he said during the meeting.

Stahl noted the agreement involves a creative plan for cost sharing the project between the township and the NJ Turnpike Authority. The exact details of how much of the cost will be borne by each entity remains to be ironed out, he said.

The exact details of the plan will come back to the council for discussion in the weeks ahead, as the authority will also return to a future meeting with plans for the wall and landscaping. 

"I appreciate the community's passion in aiding me to get this project done, and I appreciate your patience," Stahl added.
Deborah Gates October 20, 2013 at 11:15 AM
John, where did you get your engineering degree? Is your degree in civil, mechanical, or structural engineering? Thanks, Deborah
Wwe Tensai October 20, 2013 at 02:03 PM
Divide the cost per resident by the number of residents over 30 or 50 years: not that much. Part of living in a community is that everyone's property values and quality of life eventually trickle down to your front door. When people were getting run over walking to Young Israel, the Mayor jumped to order a traffic study and put in blinky signs and put a cop there etc., he puts a traffic light outside of St. Barts - other examples but could just as easily have said, "Hey, learn to cross a street, " or "learn to make a left hand turn". In this case, having property values drop, having riff raff move in, well, its like a cancer on the town. Why should people accept that ?
kgul99 October 20, 2013 at 09:37 PM
On which date were the rigid standards created, to determine whether the Turnpike Authority should shoulder the cost to put up the barrier wall on Westons Mill Road? Has the Turnpike Authority considered taking the cost of living index and inflation rate into account before pushing part of the responsibility to The East Brunswick Township?How much more revenue is expected to increase after the completion of this project?
Wwe Tensai October 22, 2013 at 10:16 AM
There was supposed to be an open meeting between the public and the turnpike Authority on Nov. 4. It has now been postponed to Nov. 18 - conveniently after the election.

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