Galloway Township Mayor Don Purdy and Deputy Mayor Tony Coppola met with the District 9 Legislative Delegation and authorities from the New Jersey Turnpike Authority on Wednesday, Oct. 10, and among the topics discussed was the possibility of using funds from the Casino Redevelopment Development Authority for the construction of a full interchange at Exit 40, connecting the Parkway to the White Horse Pike, according to the District 9 legislators.
Atlantic County Freeholder Alex Marino was also in attendance, and they also discussed the Parkway widening project, according to the legislators. Representatives from Gov. Chris Christie’s Office and the New Jersey Department of Transportation were also in attendance, according to the legislators.
“The intent of holding this meeting was to apprise the Turnpike Authority of the strong public support for a full interchange at Exit 40 as well as to have the opportunity for local officials to provide input on how best to move forward,” Senator Christopher J. Connors said in a release. “The Turnpike Authority was attentive to the points raised and informed us that its engineers would take a fresh look at its original study of establishing a full interchange at the Exit, which is outdated given the significant changes to the area over the years. There was also discussion about examining the design of the current Parkway widening project, especially the bridge design over Route 30, with an eye toward preparing for a full interchange project at Exit 40.”
The project was first presented in 2011, along with the relocation of the State Police barracks to Galloway as part of the Parkway Widening Project. As a result of the project, residents would lose access to the rest stop off Jimmie Leeds Road, but would still be able to access the Parkway. Interchanges have been discussed at Exit 40 and mile markers 41 and 44.
The Authority held an Information Session at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey in August, but residents still had questions. Connors proposed holding a joint meeting with the Turnpike Authority, township officials and Sen. Jim Whelan. However, Whelan was unable to reschedule the meeting he had already arranged with the Turnpike Authority. That meeting will take place on Friday.
“One option our Delegation is exploring is the prospect of using funds from the Casino Redevelopment Development Authority for the construction of a full interchange at Exit 40,” Connors said. “Upgrading the existing infrastructure to provide for improved access to Atlantic City, to which Route 30 serves as a major corridor, would be from our viewpoint an appropriate use of CRDA funds. Looking at the issue from a different perspective, the traffic going to and from Atlantic City is a contributing factor to the area’s overall traffic congestion impacting neighboring municipalities. Why then shouldn’t revenue raised from Atlantic City’s gaming industry be used to upgrade the existing local infrastructure, which it relies heavily on to bring in tourists and customers?”
“Residents who drive local roadways on a daily basis have approached our Delegation in support of a full interchange at Exit 40 as a practical extension of the interchange improvement planned for Exit 41 and Exit 44,” Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf said. “There is a growing consensus that further traffic improvements are warranted in order to meet the increasing demand placed on the existing infrastructure, which has become deficient largely due to the sustained population growth in the area. Also, there is the economic component of this issue, whereby a full interchange could be a catalyst for economic development along Route 30, which motorists currently can not fully access from the Parkway.”
Rumpf is a ranking member of the Assembly Transportation, Public Works and Independent Authorities Committee.
“In the end, it is a question of money,” Rumpf said. “Funding has to be in place to pay for a large scale project. The first step in the process is to have this project brought into the planning stage in recognition of its priority as a needed infrastructure improvement.”
Galloway Councilman Jim Gorman initially proposed the idea of an interchange connecting the Garden State Parkway to the White Horse Pike.
“Our Delegation has worked in a bipartisan fashion to bring together and offer the opportunity to state, county and local government officials to provide input and represent the interests of their respective constituencies on establishing a full interchange at Exit 40,” Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove said. “The planned interchange improvements for both Exits 41 and 44, which our Delegation wholly supports, puts into context the extent of the infrastructure upgrades needed to alleviate traffic congestion in the area as well as to support facilities such Stockton College and AtlantiCare’s Mainland Campus, which are among the area’s largest employers. However, it has become clear that any long term infrastructure plan for the area must include the establishment of a full interchange at Exit 40.”