DING DONG THE WITCH IS DEAD! Or, er, the traffic lights on the Garden State Parkway.
Do I sound excited? I am. The trio of lights from exits 9 to 11 on the Garden State Parkway have long been impediments that further snarl traffic between Avalon and Wildwood. These are the only three traffic lights on the 172-mile toll road. And they’re going to die. Very soon.
I spent my summers at a campground at exit 17 of the GSP. If our family wanted to travel south, we always took Route 9, which runs parallel to the highway, because we knew the GSP would be a nightmare due to the lights.
But Route 9 is no longer the quick back road. In the 1990s, the only things along the two-lane road were trees, antique shops and a Christmas store. Now it’s a victim of sprawl and its associated traffic. Sights include a mega shopping center with a Wal-Mart and mega Wawa.
To get anywhere south of Avalon on a summer weekend is an intimate sessions with your break pedal.
The $125 million construction project, which will begin in December and last two and a half years, will build three overpasses and ramps to eliminate the lights.
The pinch of construction pain will be worth it. Just look at how much easier it is to navigate the Route 70/73 intersection in Marlton now that it’s an overpass system rather than circle. The first time I drove through, I thought I’d been transported to another county (and was 20 minutes early to my meeting since I always left that much time to pass through).
This project was proposed more than 50 years ago. It’s about time.