airport expansion
Atlantic City International Airport in Egg Harbor Township

Construction on a series of overpasses and roads directly linking Atlantic City International Airport with the Atlantic City Expressway could begin as soon as spring 2013, South Jersey Transporation Authority officials said Wednesday.

The project would help reduce anticipated traffic volume increases associated with growth and development at the William J. Hughes Technical Center and NextGen Aviation Research Park, said Jeff Sabla, SJTA engineering manager.

SJTA engineers presented the proposal Wednesday night to Egg Harbor Township Committee and asked for a resolution supporting the plan.

If the proposal continues on track, SJTA project manager Shawn Carpenter said, the authority would be applying for permits and have preliminary approvals in place by this fall. Another year would be needed for the final design, and if the money is in place and approvals obtained, construction then could begin by spring 2013, Carpenter said.

Preliminary figures put the cost of the roadway without any of the right-of-way expenses at between $35 million and $40 million, said John Kovar, an engineer with the Louis Berger Group. A secondary project, which would involve installing an overpass at the end of Amelia Earhart Boulevard next to the entrance to the tech center, would cost another $15 million, he said.

Township Committee members told SJTA representatives that they had some questions and concerns about the details of the design and would like to have those addressed before supporting it.

"Do not take that as a negative. It's certainly an aggressive project and an ambitious project, and certainly something we need to move the county forward," Deputy Mayor James Risley said.

Preliminary drawings of the project show new ramps from the expressway with two overpasses over the highway. The road then links to Amelia Earhart Boulevard with another overpass over Airport Circle. Plans also call for building a service road with another overpass behind the existing Wawa. That road would connect to Delilah Road with a traffic signal, allowing motorists on Amelia Earhart Boulevard to turn onto Delilah.

Atlantic County is in the midst of significant road improvements at Airport Circle that would allow motorists on Delilah Road to travel straight through the circle and install signals for motorists on or turning onto Tilton Road. While that project will enhance safety, Kovar said, it will not help with the growing traffic volume, which is projected at peak usage to be two and a half times the existing engineered capacity.

Kovar said the preliminary design would mean a mobile home park near the expressway may lose nearly a dozen of the pad sites and minimal encroachments on township-owned property on the south side of the expressway.

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