By Robin Rieger
LAVALETTE, NJ (CBS) – Business was cooking at Meg’s Grill in Lavallette on Tuesday, an example of the progress Mayor Walter La Cicero mentioned at a press conference with NJ governor Chris Christie.
“As of this morning, I’m happy to report that 30 businesses are open on our one mile stretch of Route 35,” Mayor Walter La Cicero said.
Home and business owners are also excited about the governor’s announcement that the state will use $215 million in federal highway funds to rebuild Route 35 from Point Pleasant Beach to Island Beach Park in Seaside, a 12 mile stretch. The project had been planned to be done in pieces over six years, but Sandy put it on the fast-track for completion within two years.
“Let’s be clear: This is not just a resurfacing job,” Gov. Christie said.
Route 35 is the main road through all of the towns along this part of the Jersey shore. Portions of it were demolished and impassable following Sandy.
“New pipes will be installed underground, including a new underground storm water drainage system. Contractors will replace the concrete road with a thick, stable, stone base topped with asphalt,” Christie added.
Sidewalks and curbing will be installed, too.
“I think it’s great. I think it’s foolish not to take advantage of it,” said Meg Michaux, the owner of Meg’s Grill.
Work is scheduled to begin this summer and will be completed by the summer of 2015. Officials say there will be some inconveniences as work progresses during the summer months, but the divided highway will help mitigate that.
“This configuration presents great opportunities for us to accommodate one lane in each direction at all times,” said the Department of Transportation’s Commissioner James Simpson.
Dorothea Hess said traffic delays for road construction won’t bother her.
“Anything good is worth waiting for,” Hess said, adding that she loves Lavallette and has been a summer renter there for 42 years.