CR 537 is a major east-west transportation corridor serving regional travel needs between Burlington, Monmouth and Ocean Counties. The roadway serves as a connector between several regional routes, namely US Route 9, NJ Route 33 Freeway, NJ Route 33 Business, NJ Route 34, NJ Route 79, and Interstate Route 195. The project’s limits along CR 537 are between Sentinel Road and the US Route 9 Interchange within the Township of Freehold in Monmouth County, NJ. The corridor has substandard design elements, a history of safety concerns, and suffers from traffic congestion and delays due to inadequate roadway capacity. Solutions were developed to improve safety and reduce congestion while still taking into account practical measures to avoid, minimize, or mitigate potential impacts to the natural environment.
The following is the anticipated schedule:
|Local Concept Development (LCD) Phase||2011 – 2014 completed|
|Local Preliminary Engineering (LPE) Phase||2015 – 2019 completed|
|Final Design (FD) Phase||2020 – 2023|
|Construction Phase||2023 – 2025|
|Environmental Permits||Fall 2021|
|ROW Availability / Easements||Spring 2022|
|Completion of Final Design Phase||Summer 2023|
|Local Officials Meetings||February 2021, Winter 2022|
|Community Stakeholders Meetings||September 2021, Spring 2022|
|Public Information Center Meeting||Spring 2023|
The LCD Study and LPE phase, as well as engineering findings to date, have revealed the following:
Based on the roadway classification and required design speed as per AASHTO and MUTCD design guidelines, the Monmouth County Route 537 corridor has traffic operational deficiencies, safety deficiencies, and contains numerous substandard design elements, including:
The LCD Study results determined that there is a need to widen certain parts of the corridor roadway and provide turning lanes at certain intersections for safety and to relieve traffic congestion. The outside lane will be widened with a shoulder to accommodate bicycles.
As part of the LCD Study and the LPE Phase, the project purpose and need for improvements included various modes of transportation that were taken into consideration regarding the proposed corridor roadway improvements which included pedestrians, cyclists, transit, vehicular, and commercial types of activity and access. As part of the Study, the project team received input from the local officials and community stakeholders to understand the pedestrian and bicycle mobility and access needs. Bike and pedestrian improvements are part of the proposed design plans. The outside lane will be widened with a shoulder to accommodate bicycles. Please see plan displays by clicking Maps and Plans under About the Project on the home page main menu or click here.
During the LCD Study and the LPE Phase the roadway and intersection improvements were developed and, with resolution of support by local and County officials, the corridor roadway improvements have been determined and the design plans are currently being refined. Some of the final design elements are still to be determined such as lighting, signage, landscaping and construction staging. The County of Monmouth and cooperating agencies will continue to seek community input on the design plans and proposed transportation improvements during the Final Design (FD) phase.
A Local Concept Development (LCD) Study is the first phase of the Local Capital Delivery Process for transportation improvements programmed through the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA). The County of Monmouth filed an application with the NJTPA, who oversees this phase of the project, Federal funding was received to conduct the LCD Study. During this Study Phase, a well-defined and well-justified Purpose and Need Statement was developed focusing on the need to improve safety and maintain traffic flow in the corridor. The LCD Study Phase elements also included data collection; coordination with the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT), Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), community stakeholders, and permitting agencies; the development of a reasonable number of sensible and practical conceptual alternatives; the determination of a Preliminary Preferred Alternative (PPA); and investigation of all aspects of the project. These aspects included environmental, Right-of-Way (ROW), access, utilities, design, community involvement, constructability, and cost analysis. (See NJTPA LCD flowchart.)
Additional Study information can be found in the Community Outreach Documents related to the LCD Study Phase of the project (click here).
The Local Preliminary Engineering (LPE) Phase involved performing engineering and environmental tasks required to obtain an approved National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) document for the project. Right of Way (ROW) and environmental impacts for the proposed project were identified along with the required permits. Local officials meetings, a community stakeholders meeting, and a public information center meeting were also conducted during this phase for the design development and environmental documentation completion. For the recommended refined PPA, the Township of Freehold passed a Resolution of Support.
The tasks conducted during the LPE Phase consisted of:
Further LPE Phase project information can be found in the Community Outreach documents related to the LPE phase of the project (click here).
The Final Design (FD) phase involves finalizing the roadway geometrics and preparing the construction contract documents, including plans, specifications and construction cost estimates. Access modifications are completed in the FD phase along with property acquisition and easements of the necessary Right-of-Way (ROW) for construction of the project. The required environmental permits for construction will also be obtained during this phase. To inform and to encourage community input, a community stakeholders meeting and public information center meeting will be held during this phase.
The tasks to be conducted during the FD phase consist of, but are not limited to:
NJTPA’s Local Capital Project Delivery Program’s LCD Study phase includes an Environmental Screening of the project limits to identify regulated resources such as noise & air quality, ecological constraints (floodplains, wetlands, threatened and endangered species, etc.), cultural resources, section 4(f), hazardous materials and landfills, socioeconomics, and environmental justice.
During this project’s LCD Study phase, environmental screening identified potential environmental issues for further investigation in the LPE phase and based on the recommended PPA, recommended NEPA document of Categorical Exclusion.
During the Local Preliminary Engineering (LPE) Phase, environmental and cultural resource studies continued. The results of the environmental screening and cultural resource studies, which are part of the project schedule, were presented at the community stakeholders meetings and public information center meetings. Environmental mitigation and permitting are part of the Final Design (FD) Phase. Community involvement is an integral and on-going part of this process through all phases of the project, including into the Construction phase.
The community, whether individual residents, business owners or civic organizations have been very helpful in assisting Monmouth County in the development of the proposed corridor roadway and intersection improvements together with engaging public opinion from the general public at previous public meetings. The County and Project Team are very interested in knowing how the local community uses the corridor roadway, and how the public sees the proposed improvement design plans. Community Outreach during the planning phases and now final design phase is an essential part of the transportation improvement delivery process and we encourage the community to participate in the CR 537 corridor roadway improvements project.
Public meetings are a good way to understand the project status and offer suggestions towards a successful project. Attending the meeting is the best way to stay involved and get answers first hand with the Project Team present. If you are unable to attend a meeting, you can keep tabs on project developments by visiting this Project Website and reviewing the meeting reports and PowerPoint presentations. If you still have questions, Project Team and the County Project Manager can be reached by using the online contact form.
Monmouth County and the cooperating agencies of NJTPA and NJDOT are committed to developing transportation improvements that balance transportation needs, the environment, community concerns and cost. As part of the Community Outreach effort, numerous meetings were held in early phases of the project and meetings will be held during the Final Design phase to share project information and obtain input.
Monmouth County and the cooperating agencies of NJTPA and NJDOT encourage community members to voice their concerns and contribute suggestions to the Project Team. To submit questions or to provide input, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or attend one of the public outreach meetings or contact the County Project Manager:
|Robert Strang-Wolf, P.E.
Monmouth County Project Manager
|Joseph Ettore, P.E.
Monmouth County Engineer
Monmouth County Division of Engineering
Hall of Records Annex, 3rd floor
1 East Main Street
Freehold, NJ 07728