Transportation study recommends new street network in Marmora

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MARMORA – The Municipal Land Use Center has completed a transportation study of Rt. 9 in Marmora, recommending against a widening of the state highway there and opting instead for the creation of side streets to handle future commercial development.

 

The transportation study will be submitted to the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) in the coming months, said township engineer Paul Dietrich. The township will also hold a public information session during a township committee or planning board meeting to discuss the study.

The township was awarded a $200,000 grant from NJDOT in 2010 to assess transportation conditions on Rt. 9 in the Marmora Town Center. The study looked at future development and evaluated the need for a new street network there.

The Municipal Land Use Center used a traffic routing model to optimize how motorists could travel with the least delay. The computer program simulated thousands of vehicles traveling through a new street network in Marmora, said Dietrich.

“The program ran simulations to determine what system would work best,” he said. “It’s able to simulate the traffic conditions in Marmora, how traffic is affected and how we can best set up a system of roads so that it flows.”

The recently completed transportation study recommends a system of side streets linking new commercial development in Marmora to Rt. 9. For instance, Dietrich said, if a new department store is built on the former South Shore Auto World site, it would be set further back from Rt. 9 with a network of streets connecting it to the state highway.

The alternative would be having the entrance to the parking lot right on Rt. 9, which would require widening the highway to four lanes to allow for entering and exiting cars.

“You would need turn lanes for each development,” said Dietrich. “That’s what we want to avoid. The simulator has given us a model of a street network we can build so that traffic flows better.”

Marmora and Seaville are designated by the state as Town Centers. Upper Township was the first municipality in the state to have Town Centers approved.

The designation makes it easier for commercial development to occur, said Dietrich. With the transportation study complete, it will be even easier for future development, he said.

“Companies can come in, they don’t have to worry about CAFRA (Coastal Area Facilities Review Act) or highway access plans, that is already taken care of,” said Dietrich. “That’s a major incentive to come here instead of somewhere else.”

Officials have credited the Town Center designation for helping bring the ShopRite, CVS and Burger King to Marmora.

Before the recession, Target and Walmart were also looking at purchasing land in Marmora to build. Dietrich said that with state approvals in place, and a recovering economy, those stores may become a reality.

“That’s the idea,” he said.

 


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