EAST BRUNSWICK — A work project took drivers on the Garden State Parkway by surprise on Saturday causing hour-long delays and 7-mile backups.

New Jersey Turnpike Authority spokesman Tom Feeney said Tuesday that the agency issued 17 warnings about the closure of three lanes near Exit 129 for the Turnpike in Woodbridge to drivers on various platforms on Saturday. The alerts were posted on the New Jersey Department of Transportation's 511 website, the Turnpike website, the SafeTruipNJ app and the 511 phone system.

"The work that was done this weekend was the end of a bridge construction project that has been underway for about the past year," Feeney said in an email. "The contractor was removing barrier, paving, striping and otherwise returning the roadway to the configuration it was in before the work on the southbound side began."

But, there was no advance warning released by the Turnpike Authority prior to the work being set up on Friday night.

"It's very frustrating that there was nothing out about this work ahead of time," said New Jersey Fast Traffic's Bob Williams, whose traffic reports are heard mornings on New Jersey 101.5. "It's great that they put out the alerts but if they had let us know ahead of time drivers could have planned a different route to avoid the delays."

There were no delays through the area on Sunday, according to Feeney.

Veteran traffic reporter Bernie Wagenblast, who reported on the delays on Saturday, was also surprised at the lack of warning.

"They should have seen what happened last year when they had a couple of lanes closed in the Sayreville/Cheesequake area and there were similar big delays," Wagenblast said.

The last warning posted at 7:31 p.m. on Saturday said there were "delays and pockets of volume" of about 2 miles. However, Wagenblast said that hours later people were still getting stuck.

"Either they missed the warnings on the signs and on the radio, in addition to 511, or they knew only one way to go and went anyway. Some, perhaps, didn't believe the warnings," Wagenblast said.

Feeney said similar work on the northbound side is tentatively scheduled for Friday, April 21 through Sunday, April 23.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com

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