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As previously reported here on FAA News, the recently installed traffic signal at the very busy intersection of Prospect Street and Massachusetts Avenue was intended only as an interim signal, until the county's contractors could complete the complete widening job.

Ocean County's complete job, which the then-Ocean County Board of Freeholders, on February 5, 2020 awarded one contract for $1,332,675.62 to Assuncao Brothers from Edison, New Jersey, included widening Prospect Street to include 3 lanes in each direction of for right and left turning lanes, as well as thru traffic, and widening Massachusetts Avenue and the Excel Business Park driveway to include 2 lanes in each direction. At that point, the plan was to install a new traffic signal which will include left turning arrows on both sides of Prospect Street, and right turning arrows on Massachusetts Avenue to keep that lane moving while Prospect Street has the green arrow for left turns.

FAA News has now learned, however, that the remainder of this project is in limbo, as the contractor has declared bankruptcy and will be unable to complete construction.

Assuncao Brothers has recently filed in U.S. District Court of New Jersey, to declare bankruptcy. According to their filing, which was obtained by FAA News, they have over 200 creditors and they owe between $1-10 million.

Ocean County typically pays contractors in part multiple times throughout the construction, so they didn't pay them up front for the entire project and therefore they didn't lose the entire funds. Ocean County's attorneys have begun working through the process so they can pull the bond and get another contractor to complete the work, but this will take some time.

Site work on this project, including removal of curbs, first began in July 2020. Underground utility relocation, as well as drainage improvements were required, and a lot of that work has already been completed.

Numerous utility poles needed to be moved in order to make way for the new travel lanes. This requires coordination with numerous utilities - no simple task. A lot of progress has been made, but there is still many poles that need to be moved out of the way.

At the time of commencement of the project, Prospect Street had only 1 single travel lane in each direction, as well as a shoulder of variable width.

Seeing how long it would to get this major project to fruition, in July 2021, after pressure from Township officials, the Ocean County Road Department restriped Prospect Street from 200 feet north of Cross Street to Williams Street to a three-lane section that includes a two-way center left turn lane, left turn lanes at specific intersections and two through lanes throughout.

Several weeks later, the county also restriped Prospect Street at the Cross Street approach to provide right and left turning lanes.

In conjunction with this restriping project, Ocean County officials coordinated with Lakewood’s Township Committee to eliminate parking along both sides of the entire Prospect Street, from Route 9 to Cross Street.

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