By: Shmuel Binder
In mid-July, the township began construction to complete Vine Avenue between Cedarbridge Avenue and Pine Street. According to Mayor Ray Coles, we expect this project to be completed sometime in the spring of 2023.
While this is not a total solution for Lakewood’s daily north-south travel gridlock, it certainly puts us on the road. From start to finish, construction will take under a year. But getting to this point was by no means an easy ride.
The town actually bonded a million dollars for this project close to ten years ago. However, the State Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) rejected construction since there were wetlands along the route.
“It took several years of meetings with the state DEP and various remediation efforts to get the final approvals,” Coles explains. Much of that time was spent studying the impact on plants and wildlife, carefully mapping where we could and could not build.
The DEP also required Lakewood to put several acres of land in ‘preservation’ elsewhere to make up for the wetlands that would be affected. Lakewood identified property toward the back of Pine Park for this purpose.
But Will Vine Connect all the way to Route 70?
Presently this is where the project will end. However, once the State completes the improvements of the Vermont and Route 70 intersection, plans are to develop a connecting route all the way down to Route 70. Currently, there are no plans to connect Vine with Wynatt, John, and Mellville streets.