By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
It’s the first full day of Little Silver’s traffic shuffle, as work on the New Jersey Transit crossing at the borough train station begins an estimated two-week blockage of a main artery through town and into Shrewsbury.
Amid the vexing backups on area roads in sweltering heat, commuter tempers seem to be cool for now.
“It wasn’t as bad as I thought, which is surprising,” said Elena Acuna, who commutes by rail to New York City three times a week. “We’ll see. It’s just kind of annoying.”
On Friday morning, taillights dominated alternate routes around the station near Sycamore Avenue, which is blocked off to traffic for rail replacements and other improvements to the grade crossing.
A congested intersection on the best of days, Rumson Road and Branch Avenue came to a standstill at times, but an officer stationed at the intersection helped keep cars moving. On White Road, there were moments when the whole roadway, which stretches from Broad Street in Shrewsbury to Branch in Little Silver, was gridlocked.
Police Chief Dan Shaffery told redbankgreen it was worse Thursday, when the detour went into effect following the morning rush. White, Pinckney Road and Branch quickly jammed up and prompted calls to the department.
“It’s what we expected: difficult,” he said.
One woman called to complain, but once he explained the situation to her, she ended up thanking him, Shaffery said.
“It’s just a matter of communication,” he said.
For those taking the train, the workaround is a test in patience and the ability to adjust on the fly.
Mike Kinsey, of Oceanport, arrived at the train station by car Thursday and found himself within feet of the parking lot, but couldn’t get in. Making his daily commute into Manhattan, he took a shortcut that he admits wasn’t in conformance with the planned detours, but it was the only option if he wanted to catch his train, he said.
“For me, to get into the parking lot is almost impossible,” Kinsey said. “Now I’ve got to hustle and scramble. It’s that or I miss my train.”
Mike Sjoblom, also of Oceanport, said he arrived an hour early Friday to take the train from Little Silver to Red Bank, knowing it might get hairy. He’s fine with the inconveniences that come with the station improvements, he said.
“It’s awkward for everybody, I think,” Sjoblom said. “I think I’ll be OK, though.”
Shaffery said these first couple of days will likely be the most trying for travelers, and that the irritation will subside as people adjust.
“Hopefully, we’ll get through this unscathed,” Shaffery said. “Within the next couple days people will be avoiding it and finding an alternate route. And before you know it, it’ll be over.”