EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP — Dave Braccia, of Brigantine, believes whoever thought of building a one-way access road to decrease traffic at the former airport circle had the right idea.
Braccia, 58, should know. He works as an engineer at the William J. Hughes FAA Technical Center, which, as a byproduct of being the third-largest employer in Atlantic County, contributes heavily to the traffic in the area.
“It gets all backed up,” said Braccia, particularly at 2:30 p.m. weekdays when early-shift employees are leaving for the day. “You (also) see it at lunchtime.”
Construction is underway on an access road that would allow drivers coming from the Atlantic City International Airport and the Tech Center on Amelia Earhart Boulevard to travel directly to Tilton Road north without hitting the former traffic circle.
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The project costs $668,000 and is being funded by the SJTA, Atlantic County and the tech center.
“The improvements to the circle will really help the more than 4,000 people who work at the FAA Tech Center campus each day,” said Shelley Yak, the director of the tech center.
It will also go a long way toward relieving traffic at the former circle, said Mayor James “Sonny” McCullough.
The circle was rebuilt in 2011 so that Delilah Road bisects the three-way intersection with Tilton Road and Amelia Earhart Boulevard. Drivers trying to access the other two roads still have to go around.
The access road has been discussed for at least two years, said Tim Kroll, airport director for the South Jersey Transportation Authority, which owns and operates the airport. McCullough is a commissioner on the SJTA board.
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Construction started Oct. 1, with a contracted end date in January, Kroll said.
The plan is to have construction take place straight through this month and next, with the only delays being caused by rain or snow if asphalt is scheduled to be put down on those days, Kroll said. Site clearing is done. Workers will soon proceed with laying asphalt and dealing with the drainage system, Kroll said.
“There will be no lane closures, but there will be lane shifts during construction,” he said.
Tina Price, 53, said she hopes the access road will make a difference. Price lives in Pleasantville and travels Tilton Road north almost daily either to her job at a treatment facility or to attend services at Redeeming Love Christian Fellowship. Both places are in Egg Harbor City.
“There should have been a second light installed for traffic coming from the airport. People are really rude,” Price said.