Project Overview

Local Concept Development (LCD) Study Phase

This Local Concept Development Study was the first phase, conducted to identify need and propose extensive corridor roadway improvements. The costs were too great for Monmouth County, so Federal funding was required. Monmouth County applied for the County Route 537 Corridor Roadway Study with the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA). NJTPA had oversight of this phase of the project.

1. Local Concept Development 2. Local Preliminary Engineering 3. Final Design/Row Acquisition 4. Construction
Purpose & Need Statement Approved Design Exception Report Construction Contract Documents & PS&E Package Completed Construction
Data Collection & Environmental Screening Report Cost Estimates (Final Design, ROW & Construction) Environmental Reevaluations As-Built
Selection of Preliminary Preferred Alternative Approved Environmental Document Environmental Permits Update & Finalize Design Communications Report
Concept Development Report Approved Project Plan Acquisition on ROW Close-out Documentation
NEPA Classification Preliminary Engineering Report Update Design Communications Report
Create Design Communications Report Update Design Communications Report
Initial Public Outreach & Involvement Continued Public Outreach & Involvement Continued Public Outreach & Involvement Continued Public Outreach & Involvement

During the LCD Study phase, a Purpose and Need Statement was developed focusing on the need to improve safety and operational movements in the corridor. A number of sensible and practical conceptual alternatives were developed to meet the goals and objectives. Upon completion of an alternatives analysis, and in coordination with the NJTPA, NJDOT, FHWA, local officials, community stakeholders, the general public and permitting agencies, a Preliminary Preferred Alternative (PPA) was recommended to address safety and traffic operational deficiencies with specific corridor roadway improvements. The improvements better accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists as well as vehicular traffic. The project limits were modified to eliminate the portion of the corridor within Freehold Borough due to lack of support from Freehold Borough for CR 537 roadway improvements within their jurisdiction. Resolutions of Support for the PPA were passed by the Township of Freehold on April 9, 2013 and November 12, 2013 and by the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders on November 14, 2013.

Additional Study information can be found in the Community Outreach Documents related to the LCD Study Phase of the project.

Local Preliminary Engineering (LPE) Phase

The 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 and environmental impacts for the proposed project were identified along with the needed construction permits. Local officials meetings, a community stakeholders meeting, and a public information center meeting were also conducted during this phase for design development and environmental documentation completion. For the recommended refined PPA, the Township of Freehold passed a Resolution of Support.

Further LPE Phase project information can be found in the Community Outreach documents related to the LPE phase of the project

Final Design (FD) Phase

The FD phase involves finalizing the roadway and intersection improvements and preparing the construction contract documents including design plans and specifications. Access modifications are completed in the FD phase along with acquisition of the necessary Right-of-Way (ROW) for construction of the project. The necessary 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:

  • Geotechnical investigation (soil borings with analysis) for structural and SWM design
  • Utility relocation coordination discussions with companies
  • Develop landscaping and aesthetic elements
  • Secure environmental permits
  • Right-of-Way (ROW) property negotiations, acquisitions and easements
  • Develop maintenance of traffic and construction staging plans
  • Complete Final Design engineering technical plans

Environmental Process

Monmouth County has jurisdiction of CR 537, however the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) provides the funding for this project. Any transportation projects receiving Federal funding must also follow the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process.

The New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) Bureau of Environmental Resources (BEPR) oversees this aspect of the project in cooperation with Monmouth County and NJTPA. They coordinate with the permitting agencies, such as NJDEP and NJSHPO (New Jersey State Historic Preservation Office), to develop a cohesive plan for proposed improvements. The agencies look carefully at comments from the public, therefore community involvement is an important part of the environmental process and moving the project forward with consensus and environmental compliance.

The LCD Study Phase required the identification of any environmental concerns and to develop an environmental profile. When analyzing alternatives, the Project Team looked to avoid or minimize environmental impacts and, if that was not possible, then to provide mitigation. The environmental resources include air, noise, hazardous or contaminated sites, parks, wetlands, water resources, social and economic impacts, and cultural resources such as historic structures and facilities.

During the LPE Phase environmental and cultural resource studies were continued. The results of the environmental screening and cultural resource studies, which are part of the project schedule, were presented at the public meetings. Environmental mitigation and permitting are part of the FD Phase.

Community Involvement

Monmouth County and the cooperating agencies of NJTPA, NJDOT and FHWA, are committed to developing transportation improvements that best balance transportation needs, the environment, community concerns and cost. As part of the Community Outreach effort, meetings have been and will continue to be held with  local officials, community stakeholders, and the general public to share project information and to obtain input and broad-based support for corridor roadway improvements. Community involvement is on-going and an integral part of all phases of the project, including  the Construction phase.

Project Funding

NJTPA had funding oversight for the LCD Study Phase and has developed flowcharts that show all the project phases and the steps to complete for each phase of a transportation improvement project. Once the Preliminary Preferred Alternative (PPA) for corridor roadway improvements had been determined, with resolution of support by the Freehold Township and Monmouth County Board of Commissioners, the NJDOT Local Aid Department then assumed administration of the project with Monmouth County as the lead, utilizing Federal funding for the LPE Phase.

Monmouth County and NJDOT Local Aid, together with the cooperating State and Federal agencies, have continued to move the project forward using Federal funds for the FD phase. They will do so for the Construction Phase as well as Federal funding is made available.

Project Schedule (Phases)

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

Final Design Phase – Project Schedule (Major Milestones)

Environmental Permits Fall 2021
ROW Availability / Easements Spring 2023
PS&E Plans Spring 2023
Completion of Final Design Phase Summer 2023

Final Design Phase  – Anticipated Community Involvement Schedule

Local Officials Meetings No. 1 and No. 2 February 2021, Winter 2022
Community Stakeholders Meetings No. 1 and No. 2 September 2021, Spring 2022
Public Information Center Meeting Spring 2023
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