Local and state officials discussed Wednesday the possibility of opening a full interchange at Garden State Parkway Exit 40, allowing for a connector with the White Horse Pike.
The New Jersey Turnpike Authority will review a study suggesting that the exit be created, 9th District legislators said in a written statement.
Officials and residents have looked to such an interchange as a way to attract more business along the pike and decrease Atlantic City traffic congestion on other arteries, including the Atlantic City Expressway.
Sen. Christopher J. Connors, R-Ocean, Burlington and Atlantic, said the purpose of the meeting with the New Jersey Turnpike Authority was to convey local support for the project. He said the authority informed the group that engineers were reviewing a prior study.
To help fund the proposal, Connors said, the delegation has discussed using funds from the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority.
“Upgrading the existing infrastructure to provide for improved access to Atlantic City, to which Route 30 serves as a major corridor, would be from our viewpoint an appropriate use of CRDA funds,” he said.
Officials at CRDA, however, were not aware on Wednesday of any plans to take on the project.
“No one has spoken to us directly about that,” CRDA spokeswoman Kim Butler said when asked about the statement.
Butler declined to comment further on the proposition.
Atlantic City’s Regional Transportation Plan, a $4 million study completed for the CRDA in 2009, lists a full interchange at Exit 40 as a long-term project. The transportation plan, which includes 34 projects, was commissioned as the city faced tourism growth that officials said would require significant transportation improvements to relieve congestion.
Completing the interchange would “permit additional travel circulation for local residents into and out of Atlantic City and would provide an additional alternative for accessing marina casinos from points south,” the plan states.
The current drive for a full interchange at Exit 40 developed out of a public meeting addressing plans to create full interchanges at Exit 41 for Jimmie Leeds Road and Exit 44 for Pomona Road.
Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf said there’s a broad base of support for the project, which would contribute to the local economy.
“There is a growing consensus that further traffic improvements are warranted in order to meet the increasing demand placed on the existing infrastructure, which has become deficient largely due to the sustained population growth in the area,” he said.
Other attendees of the meeting included representatives of the Governor’s Office, the state Department of Transportation and Galloway Township Mayor Don Purdy.
A spokesman for the New Jersey Turnpike Authority could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
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