The New Jersey Turnpike Authority will spend more than $1 million to offset environmental impacts of improvements on the Garden State Parkway in Atlantic and Cape May counties.
Nearly $533,700 will be paid to the state Department of Environmental Protection to compensate for trees that will be cut down as exits 41 and 44 in Galloway Township are reconfigured to full interchanges. Officials have previously said nine acres of trees will be lost.
Another $546,000 will account for wildlife habitats that will be lost as the authority completes a $110 million project removing the only three traffic lights on the parkway, in Middle Township.
The Turnpike Authority’s board approved both measures at a monthly meeting Tuesday in Woodbridge, Middlesex County.
The $50 million project in Galloway Township is expected to start in the spring and will create full interchanges at Jimmie Leeds and Pomona roads. The authority is required to compensate the DEP for the loss of trees. The amount was agreed upon by both parties, according to a resolution.
In Cape May County, work began earlier this year to remove the traffic lights at Shell Bay Avenue, Stone Harbor Boulevard and Crest Haven Road. There, the authority was required to mitigate for more than 44 acres of lost critical wildlife habitat. About 17 acres of mitigation was found within the project limits. The funding approved Tuesday compensates for another 27 acres that could not be restored within the project limits.
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