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Freeholder, Engineer Discuss County Projects In OC

Freeholder Susan Sheppard and County Engineer Dale Foster spoke at an Ocean City Community Association Meeting.

The Ocean City Community Association hosted a forum on Saturday at which county representatives spoke regarding the relationship between the Cape May County and Ocean City, as well as described projects and goals for road and bridge improvements.

County Engineer Dale Foster discussed some road projects that the county is considering.

"From 6th to 18th on Bay Avenue, we're studying," he said. "It's a section in dire need of pavement. This is a project we're under design with and we are proceeding with that project."

He also discussed bridges, bringing up a picture of the 34th Street Bridge, which is covered in patches to fix holes in the road.

"This is a project I do not want to move forward with, because I will be one of the most hated people in the county," Foster said.

Fixing the 34th Street Bridge would require months of single lane operation on the bridge.

"You all know when we've done projects in the past, how bad that traffic is," he said.

But, he added, if the project does not happen, the "decks are going to fail and we'll have big holes dropping through it."

The project will cost more than $4 million, will likely begin in the fall of 2013 and will require most of the winter months, Foster said.

Foster spoke about speeding on Bay Avenue as well, showing that the county has applied for a "Safe Route to School Grant," which, he said, is highly competitive. The purpose of the grant would be to make changes on the road near the to slow traffic down.

"We're looking at putting in a median to get people to slow down; you have to force them to think they're getting into a close, cramped area...if you squeeze them down, they'll slow down," he said.

Foster said that the county has received letters of support from the Police Department, the city, the school board, and some local associations regarding the potential project.

If the grant application is not successful, the county plans to put in for the funds again in 2014.

Some residents at the meeting expressed concerns about speeding on West Avenue, especially with regard to bicyclists and pedestrians. Foster said that the county must conduct studies in order to lower speed limits, and that the process includes monitoring for speed on the road.

The speed limits are then set based on the speed of the drivers on the road, he said.

"If the 85th percentile is under 40 then we can drop it to 30...we have worked with the Ocean City Police Department on West Avenue trying to get the speed down...we can't lower it unless it complies with studies," Foster said.

propertywatcher August 27, 2012 at 01:10 PM
What about Bay Ave. north of 6th.....specifically 2nd? How could that be ignored? Also, you'll notice the people who speed are the ones without front license plates....get my drift? Pull them over Mr. Policeperson! Give them a ticket and keep giving tickets until people get it! We don't need to apply for a special safety grant. Police do your job!

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