HOT-TOPIC_01Red Bank and neighboring towns could be in for a day or more of truly bad traffic next Monday – and rail commuters may be in for headaches as well.

New Jersey Transit plans to close the heavily traveled railroad crossing at Broad Street/Route 35 to vehicular traffic starting Friday night for an estimated three-plus days of round-the-clock inspections and repairs on its North Jersey Coast Line track, a spokeswoman said.

In addition, rail traffic in both directions will be funneled onto a single track pair near the location, rather than the usual two, a move that is expected to cause mass transit delays, said spokeswoman Nancy Snyder.

The planned closure, scheduled to begin at 10 p.m. Friday and  to last until 7 a.m. on Tuesday, October 28, comes just a week after a brief closure of the grade crossing for inspection and repairs.

Red Bank Police Chief Darren McConnell, who was among the local officials briefed on the planned closure by NJT representatives last Friday, told redbankgreen that NJT characterized the situation as an emergency involving the integrity of underlying railroad ties.

Snyder declined to comment on that characterization, and said the project was a continuation of the work begun on October 12.

“Safety’s our top priority,” she said. “We want to keep our system in a state of repair.”

For local commuters, the project is likely to cause agita, and for police in Red Bank, Little Silver, Shrewsbury and Tinton Falls, “it’s a big deal,” McConnell said.

With the grade crossing closed, northbound Route 35 from Shrewsbury will be diverted via Newman Springs Road to Shrewsbury Avenue. Traffic southbound from Red Bank will be detoured east to Branch Avenue, through an already heavily congested section of Little Silver, and west to Shrewsbury Avenue, he said.

To lighten the impact, signs alerting motorists to plan alternate routes will be posted on Route 35 in Eatontown and on Route 35 in Middletown this week, he said.

For rail customers who use or pass through the Red Bank train station, all inbound (to Newark and other points north) and outbound trains will arrive on track 1 – the outbound track, said Snyder. NJT is advising rail passengers to allow extra travel time as trains may be delayed 15 to 30 minutes, particularly on Monday evening.