It's unlikely that New Jersey residents, who live along the Garden State Parkway in Ocean County, will get a sound wall following the clearing of hundreds of trees.

Garden State Parkway traffic around the Toms River tolls (NJ DOT)

Residents in communities that are close to the highway in Brick Township, like the Evergreen Woods Complex, say they're dealing with increased noise pollution and danger from speeding vehicles following the removal of trees for a safety improvement project.

However, New Jersey Turnpike Authority Spokesman Tom Feeney says there are certain criteria that must be met to qualify for a noise analysis leading to a sound wall.

"It's not about the construction process. It's about what's done with the new configuration of the roadway, is it closer to the houses or is it a wider roadway where you're getting an extra 10,000 extra cars a day?"

"In this case, this project is not moving the parkway any closer to any homes and it's not adding to passengers on that side of the road. In fact, the regular pavement is going to be replaced with quiet pave. So the prior sound in the area when this work is done is actually going to be lower than it is now."

Not even meeting the criteria is a guarantee for getting a sound barrier, according to Feeney. He says, in some cases, findings show that a sound wall wouldn't do enough to justify the cost of actually building one.

However, there is one community in the area that's getting a sound wall. Feeney says it involves a county project to build a ramp to the parkway around interchanges 88 and 89.

"That Ocean County project is building a new ramp that goes close to a residential area. So, because of that, a sound study was done. Based on the projections of the future noise levels on the neighborhood, they determined that building a sound barrier would protect that neighborhood from the sound."

As previously reported, New Jersey Transit Authority has authorized that a berm be installed. However, residents contend the 66-inch high, by 15-foot wide and possibly 100-foot long berm without trees or bushes, would not be sufficient.


Map shows area of Garden State Parkway shoulder expansion. (Googlemaps)