POLICING PARTNERSHIP FOR A SAFER CR 539
Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato today announced details of his Safety/Enforcement Initiative to address the rash of eleven (11) fatal crashes and numerous serious accidents that have occurred from 2013 to the present along County Route 539. The following are non-fatal crash totals for CR539 by municipality from January 2013 – May 2015:
- Tuckerton: 18
- Little Egg Harbor: 81
- Stafford: 16
- Barnegat: 17
- Lacey: 26
- Manchester: 99
- Jackson: 1
- Plumsted: 145
Prosecutor Coronato stated, “Ocean County residents have a real cause for concern over safety issues along CR 539. I have called upon all departments having jurisdiction in the area to do their part in alleviating their concerns and resolving those safety issues”.
This safety/enforcement initiative on CR 539 between Tuckerton and Plumsted Borough encompasses seven (7) municipal jurisdictions traversing 38 miles of roadway in Ocean County from Milepost 0 – 38. The road crosses through the towns of Little Egg Harbor, Stafford, Barnegat, Lacey, Manchester, Plumsted and Jackson. This two-lane highway runs southeast to northwest through Ocean County and is frequently used by local seniors, commuters traveling to the Trenton area, tourists looking to vacation along the Jersey Shore and a large amount of commercial trucks.
The planned response is the result of extensive meetings called for by Prosecutor Coronato with local police chiefs, county officers/officials, NJ State Police and the Ocean County Road/Engineering Departments to address the plague of crashes. All in attendance formulated a plan of action covering three (3) critical components: Enforcement, Engineering, and Education. The crafted initiative is a coordinated multi-jurisdictional/agency effort supported by the Chiefs of Police and Department Heads from the following jurisdictions/agencies:
- Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office
- Ocean County Sheriff’s Department
- NJ State Police Troop “C” – Red Lion and Tuckerton Stations
- NJ State Police Troop “C” – Tactical Patrol Unit
- NJ State Police – Transportation Safety Bureau
- Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders
- Ocean County Road Department
- Ocean County Engineering Department
- Barnegat Police Department
- Jackson Police Department
- Lacey Police Department
- Little Egg Harbor Police Department
- Manchester Police Department
- Plumsted Police Department
- Stafford Police Department
- Tuckerton Police Department
The enforcement element of the initiative, which will run from August 15 – September 14, will bring vigilant and aggressive enforcement of all those motor vehicle moving and equipment violations that are major contributory causes to the crashes. These causes include, but are not limited to, Improper Passing, Excessive Speed, Driving While Under the Influence, Aggressive Driving, Improper Turning, Failing to Yield, Inattentive Driving, Disregard of Traffic Signal, Following Too Close and various commercial carrier violations such as overweight, equipment maintenance and brake pressure. Additionally as part of the enforcement efforts, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office personnel assigned to the detail will utilize unmarked police vehicles to report any aggressive and erratic driving to operating marked units, all policing agencies are encouraged to utilize patrol vehicles equipped with Automated License Plate Readers, and approximately 10 Variable Message Signs will be strategically placed along the roadway during the course of the initiative.
The engineering aspect of the initiative will include a review of the accidents and specific roadway dynamics to determine possible safety improvements. The Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders have crafted plans to make major safety upgrades to a 25-mile stretch of Route 539 from Little Egg Harbor to Plumsted in 2016. The project, estimated to cost $3.4 million, will be funded by the Federal Highway Administration’s High Risk Rural Road program. Construction is expected to begin in the spring, according to the Board of Freeholders.
The improvements, as outlined from the board and its engineering staff, include:
- Rumble strips: Reduces centerline crossover motor vehicle accidents often caused by sleepy motorists or those traveling at excessive speeds.
- Raised pavement markers: These markers are fairly common on roadways today and are designed to increase nighttime visibility. They are typically placed along the center lines of a roadway and reflect the light from a motor vehicle’s headlights to outline the lanes of a highway in rural areas.
- All-weather reflective striping: Makes the lines on a roadway easier to see at night (like a cat’s eyes), particularly in bad weather conditions.
- Radar-activated LED (light-emitting diode) chevron signs: These signs will be placed in clusters at curves and will light up in a synchronous pattern when a motor vehicle approaches to outline the sharpness of the curve.
- High-friction road surface: This salmon-colored or reddish pavement is to be installed at six curves on Route 539. The road surface material used will be a thermo-setting polymer resin binder — epoxy, modified polyester or urethane, according to the federal government. Basically, it prevents a vehicle from skidding when its driver attempts to stop suddenly from a high rate of speed.
The education element will include signage, media postings, radio public service announcements, awareness posters and coordinated social media postings by all the partnering agencies. As evident by recent localized media releases on enforcement, Prosecutor Coronato has directed all participating Chiefs to be proactive in keeping media informed of enforcement efforts, crash stats and initiative developments.
With regard to the public’s contribution – we simply ask all motorists to please drive responsibly.
PROSECUTOR CORONATO TAKES A MOMENT ROADSIDE OF CR539
TO THANK THE POLICING PARTNERS AND WISH THEM A SAFE PATROL
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