Summer is around the corner and lots of folks will be heading down the shore.

The state Department of Transportation is trying to make the trip as easy and stress free as possible.

Steve Schapiro, a spokesman for the DOT, said keeping roads to the shore moving is not only important for tourism but the roads are also needed in case of an emergency. As a policy, the DOT limits construction on these evacuations routes during the summer.

“We try to avoid any lane closures, particularly on weekends, to make sure that traffic can flow as smoothly as possible. Of course, the shore is very popular, it tends to have a lot of traffic, a lot of congestion," Schapiro said.

One project that is continuing is the rehabilitation of the old Route 72 Manahawkin Bay Bridge that leads over to Long Beach Island.

A second causeway bridge was completed in 2016 and all traffic is using that span while work on the old bridge is completed.

“There are going to be shoulders now where there weren’t before," Schapiro said. "There’s a combination for pedestrians as well as bike lands and cyclists.”

He said once the work is wrapped up, both spans will be used, with still only two lanes in each direction. There will be shoulder space on both bridges in case it’s needed.

“The actual lane numbers will not change but it’s safer because you have more room, room to move incidents aside, things like that. And there’s room for bicycles and walkers," he said.

“If there is a fender-bender or an accident, you’ll have the shoulder lanes so emergency vehicles can get there and respond to the incident but traffic can still move.”

Another project that’s designed to help move traffic to shore destinations is a 24-mile stretch of Route 50 between Upper Township in Cape May County and Hamilton.

“That is adding a high friction surface treatment and that’s a safety improvement project, which just makes the highway safer for driving on," he said.

A shore -access improvement project that recently wrapped up was on the Garden State Parkway between Toms River and the Atlantic City Expressway. The project widened 45 miles to help ease congestion.

DOT crews recently completed several bridge rebuilding and repair projects on the Parkway that will also help keep traffic moving.

The DOT, meanwhile, recently spent $20.2 million on dredging projects to help keep boaters moving in Barnegat Bay, Forked River, Shark River, Shrewsbury and Keansburg.

You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com

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