SINGLE-LANE REOPENING PLANNED

wfront-122910A towrig pulls a stranded car from the snow while utility crews work on the opposite side of West Front Street at 3:30p Wednesday. (Click to enlarge)

A utility pole replacement job continued to vex motorists traveling through Red Bank Wednesday, adding to woes dominated by icy streets and snowpile-narrowed driving lanes.

Police had hoped to reopen eastbound West Front Street by 3p, but that target was missed, owing in part at least to a problem that has hampered snow removal efforts since the weekend blizzard: stranded cars.

West Front between Broad Street and Maple Avenue has been closed since Monday, a day after wind-whipped blizzard sheared a transformer-bearing utility pole opposite Riverside Gardens Park and left it leaning on wires and blocking half the street.

The roadway shutdown and resulting detours have caused massive traffic jams since Tuesday morning.

“The problem is people are getting back to their daily routines, so we have enoormous traffic volume and a limited amount of roadway space,” said Captain Darren McConnell of the borough police department.

The West Front closure is “adding severely” to the congestion, he said.

As of 5p, the roadway was all but ready to be reopened except for the presence of ice. A Monmouth County road crew was on its way to apply deicing agent so the street could be reopened eastbound, with the expectation that the street would be fully reopened by midnight, McConnell said.

Elsewhere in town, DPW crews continued to work around the clock.

“The major arteries are all  easily traveled — just congested,” McConnell said. “Some side streets still need additional clearing but all are passable,” he said.

Wednesday night, when temperatures are expected to drop below freeezing, DPW crews plan to lay down deicing agent, McConnell said.

Then also plan to tackle removal of snow along downtown streets, including Broad, White, Monmouth, Mechanic and Wallace streets, as well as parking lots, he said.