Moorestown Township council continued a public hearing for a bond ordinance regarding improvements for Cox and McElwee roads at its April 11 meeting.
After the township authorized engineering firm Pennoni to submit a New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) Municipal Aid Grant for the 2021 and 2022 fiscal years, it was awarded DOT funds in the amount of $415,000 for road repairs.
For the township to complete the project to NJDOT standards, Cox and McElwee roads will need to be widened, increasing the cost of the repairs. The bond ordinance calls for the issuance of $460,750 and council agreed to proceed with funding on Feb. 28.
Ken Shine, project manager for Pennoni, gave a short presentation on the project at council’s meeting.
“Just to give a little bit of background on how McElwee and Cox were chosen, there’s a couple of factors that go into it,” said Shine. “One is the amount of maintenance that public works does: fixing potholes, on McElwee putting down a stone edge, maintaining the stone edge on the roadway … They’re out there doing maintenance, quite a bit of maintenance on both roads.”
He described design plans Pennoni has developed for both roads, which includes widening Cox and McElwee to 20 feet.
“NJDOT prefers to have 12-foot-wide lanes,” Shine explained. “If they can get them, they will accept 11-foot-wide lanes under some conditions. In the case of Garwood Road, which was also NJDOT-funded, they accepted a width of 20 feet.”
“We feel confident that they’re going to approve that on this road as well,” he added, “although it is still subject to NJDOT approval when we submit our design plans to them. But what we intend to propose is a 20-foot width for
McElwee Road and also for Cox.”
After Shine gave an overview of the concept design project for the roads – viewable at moorestown.nj.us – residents addressed council, with some expressing mixed feelings.
“We the people of McElwee Road feel a responsibility to preserve the scenic beauty and charm of our street as described and laid out by an act of the general assembly of the province of New Jersey,” said Patricia Radey.
“On a final plea, we ask that you please do not prostitute McElwee Road by widening it.”
“I am in full support of the expansion and the repaving of McElwee Road,” said David Wojcik. “It is a very serious safety issue and it’s an issue that is faced by bicyclists, pedestrians and drivers every day.”
“It is unanimous; everyone that we spoke to on the east end of McElwee Road feels the same way,” said resident Peter Cronk. “This decision will affect us more than anybody else … “
After public comment, council made a motion to adjourn deliberation on the ordinance until April 25.
Earlier in the meeting, Deputy Mayor Sue Mammarella announced that Richard Naff is now the township’s emergency management coordinator. Township Manager Kevin Aberant noted that in light of Lee Lieber’s retirement, he has appointed Walt Walczak to be in charge, pending appointment of a new police chief.