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As was first reported here on FAA News, completion of Lakewood Township's long-awaited Vermont Avenue Extension, between Route 70 and Chestnut Street, is still awaiting final authorization from the New Jersey Department of Transportation prior to the paving of widening of the Route 70 intersection and Wawa stub, which will permit for the entire roadway to be opened.

While waiting for this required authorization, Township officials are now advancing plans to additionally pave the dirt road portion of the northern portion of Vermont Avenue from Essex Street to Oak Street, FAA News has learned.

As was first reported here on FAA News, back in December 2022, Township engineers got the initial "design shovel" in the ground by submitting an application to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) for a Freshwater wetlands Letter of Interpretation (LOI) for the extension of this roadway.

A “LOI” is a document issued by NJDEP indicating the presence or absence of, and delineating the boundaries of wetlands, State open waters, or transition areas; verifying or delineating the boundaries of freshwater; or assigning a wetland a resource value classification.

A LOI does not grant approval to conduct any regulated activities, it merely provides or confirms information about the presence or absence, and the boundaries of freshwater wetlands. However, it is the first step to making any major road work project a reality, as it will enable the Township's engineers to see if there are any further environmental constraints in the area which would prohibit construction of the road.

Following this initial prerequisite step, Township engineers have now submitted an Individual CAFRA Permit application to DEP for full approval for the proposed roadway improvements, FAA News has learned.

As the Township apparently feels that paving this road would be better for traffic flow, it remains unclear why, as previously reported here on FAA News, the Township cheerfully vacated the public right of way of Grand Avenue between Vine Avenue and Vermont Avenue. Once this northern portion of Vermont Avenue is paved, Grand Avenue could have provided an additional connection between Vine Avenue and Vermont Avenue.

However, apparently - despite being asked this question for numerous neighbors -  the Township Committee simply didn't see any reason to maintain this grid.

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