Frustrated motorists report sitting in jammed traffic on Route 35, mainly in the northbound direction, for upwards of two and a half hours Saturday evening. Many factors come into play when figuring out why the traffic at the Shore was so bad Saturday.

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Bumper-to-bumper traffic on Route 35 north Saturday (photo: Robert Scalera Jr/Jersey Shore Hurricane News Facebook)

First, the ongoing reconstruction of Route 35 between Seaside and Mantoloking is still not complete. The 35 stretch is one way in each direction, add multiple redirections and the most traffic that road has seen in since the summer equals a nightmare. This is an outline of the repairs from NJDOT.

The Route 35 construction is under the umbrella of the New Jersey Department of Transportation. The project began just after Labor Day and continues. At the time of this writing, the NJDOT has not commented.

According to reports, Seaside Heights Mayor David Akers says the DOT told him they would have two lanes open for today's event.

Secondly, the 21st annual Polar Bear Plunge in Seaside Heights. Unseasonably warm temps brought over 40,000 spectators to Seaside in addition to the over 5,300 plungers. This is the most people Seaside has seen at once in quite some time.

Luckily, there is a bright side to being inconvenienced in traffic. Thanks to everyone who attended and donated, $1,440,000 was raised for New Jersey Special Olympics. Speaking personally, I would sit in traffic for a couple hours for a good cause like that.

In short, Route 35 is not ready for heavy volume. Will there be a solution in place for the St. Patrick's Day parade in a few weeks? Can we even expect to have the coastal corridor ready for Memorial Day? In the coming days, hopefully the NJDOT will have some answers for us.

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