The New Jersey Turnpike Authority is moving forward with plans to build a new State Police barracks in Galloway Township, replacing the smaller, outdated post in Bass River Township.

First discussed publicly more than a year ago, construction on the $13.5 million project is set to begin in March and will take 18 months to complete, NJTA spokesman Tom Feeney said.

Plans call for the 27,500-square-foot building to be constructed off Jimmie Leeds Road and the Garden State Parkway, where the NJTA also has plans to add a full interchange at Exit 41.

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Construction was expected to begin this fall, but delays in design held up the process, Feeney said.

Hall Building Corp. recently was awarded the contract for the work after 10 bids were received in December. The Monmouth County company will build two identical stations for a total cost of $27 million. The second station is planned for milepost 37 on the New Jersey Turnpike in Mount Laurel, Burlington County.

The NJTA will finance construction because it is responsible for State Police costs on its roadways.

For years, officers in the Bass River barracks have made due with the outdated facilities that date to the 1950s. The facility is not only in poor condition, but also is not centrally located to the troopers’ duties on the highway, officials said. The new station will allow for better access to the southern portion of the parkway.

After construction is finished on the new building — likely in 2014 — the Bass River station will be razed, and the site likely will be used for storage, officials said.

Sketches of the new station show a two-story, mostly brick building with a sloped roof. The building will include a waiting area, control center, administrative areas, briefing rooms, holding cells, a break room, exercise area and locker rooms.

Construction of the State Police facility was planned to coincide with construction of full interchanges for Exit 41 and Exit 44 at Pomona Road. That work is expected to start in the spring and continue into early 2015.

Drivers currently use an access road off Jimmie Leeds Road to enter the service area in Galloway and continue onto the parkway. That access road will be limited to authorized vehicles only once the newly configured Exit 41 opens.

The changes have not been without criticism. Local officials and residents have voiced concerns about losing direct access to the service area. Others are pushing for a full interchange at Exit 40 for U.S. Route 30. That topic dominated a public hearing earlier this month intended only to discuss the changes to Exits 41 and 44.

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