The Atlantic City Expressway has a Whopper of a project in mind.
A new Burger King outlet is planned at the eastern end of the toll road next to the Atlantic City Visitors Center.
The proposed site is an old parking lot that was once used by casino employees but has been empty since 2009, according to the South Jersey Transportation Authority, the expressway’s operating agency.
The authority’s board moved the project forward Wednesday by approving negotiations on a concession agreement with the restaurant’s developer, Cape Atlantic Food Services LLC, of Somers Point, a Burger King franchisee.
No timetable has been set yet for construction, meaning that expressway motorists will have to wait a while longer before, as the Burger King commercial jingle suggests, they can have it their way.
“I’m sure the vendor would like to have it open by the summer season, but that’s not going to happen,” said Kevin Rehmann, a spokesman for the transportation authority.
Rehmann said it still must be decided whether it will be a full-fledged restaurant or simply a drive-through window.
The expressway has a Burger King restaurant that is part of a group of fast-food outlets at the Farley Service Plaza in Hamilton Township, the midpoint of the heavily traveled 47-mile road.
However, the expressway’s eastern end in Atlantic City lacks any place to buy food other than a mini-mart attached to a Sunoco gas station.
Sharon Gordon, deputy executive director of the transportation authority, said the new Burger King would create another attraction for motorists and have the added benefit of generating extra revenue for the expressway through a concession agreement.
New legislation making its way through the Statehouse directs the expressway, the Garden State Parkway and the New Jersey Turnpike to develop plans for more commercial, business or retail ventures at their rest stops. The idea is for all three toll roads to generate more funding for state transportation projects without hitting motorists with a fare increase.
Gordon said the expressway’s new Burger King would be compatible with the legislation, although the project was planned before the bill was introduced earlier this year.
“We will be looking to support the legislation to increase our non-toll revenue,” she said.
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