LBI Traffic Delays a Combination of the 4th of July Holiday, Rental Turnovers, and Thunderstorm

By Gina G. Scala | Jul 10, 2019

Surf City, NJ — Even before Saturday’s thunderstorm ripped through the area, traffic on Long Beach Island reached epic proportions. It began as early as Wednesday morning when traffic was clogged on Long Beach Boulevard in both directions and continued through Saturday when secondary roads, like Ocean Boulevard in Long Beach Township, were snarled with motorists traveling in one direction: north.

The increase in traffic was a mix of the 4th of July holiday, turnover of summer rentals, and the storm. All that traffic from the south end of the Island converged in Ship Bottom as many motorists attempted to make their way to the Causeway. Many quickly learned they would have fared better staying put.

The July 6 storm hit the mainland in the mid-afternoon, causing power outages and flooding. When there is a power outage, the state Department of Transportation traffic signals automatically flash yellow on the main roads, in this case Route 72, the only thoroughfare to the Island, according to Stephen Schapiro, deputy director of communications for the DOT. The traffic lights flash red for cross streets, such as Mill Creek Road, he said.

“NJDOT crews responded and reset traffic signals once power was restored,” Schapiro said, noting the lights flashed yellow on Route 72 for about an hour July 6.

Additionally, the heavy rain caused flooding to close the ramp from Route 72 westbound to the Garden State Parkway for about 80 minutes on Saturday afternoon, Schapiro said.

“The temporary ramp closure because of the weather, combined with heavy traffic volume on a holiday weekend, likely contributed to delays,” he said.

The DOT does traffic counts on highways every three years, Schapiro said. Unfortunately, there is no traffic data for last weekend.  —G.G.S.

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