You’re on your way to work, or to a really cool event, when all of a sudden…traffic strikes. Now you’re stuck in traffic. (Darn Ocean County Traffic!) To help you possibly avoid future traffic in Ocean County, we developed this helpful guide of the most popular and most traffic-jammed roads in our area. So if you’re looking to get past all that traffic (or maybe you just want to you learn about all of the popular routes in our area so you could explore more places), here are the ten most popular and most traffic-ridden roads in Ocean County:
County Route 549
About: Perhaps you know County Route 549 as Hooper Avenue or Brick Blvd. Either way, it’s the major connection between Brick and Toms River. And many sources consider 549 to have more traffic than any other County Route in Ocean County. Route 549 begins in Toms River (near NJ Route 166) and eventually makes it way up through Brick and Lakewood. It intersects with Routes 70, 88 and the Parkway.
Traffic: Because of the volume of traffic between Toms River and Brick, there could be a lot of traffic on 549, especially during rush hour.
County Route 527
About: 527 starts at an intersection with Route 166 in Toms River, and crosses both Route 9 and the Parkway almost immediately. 527 goes northwest through Jackson and ends in North Jersey.
Traffic: Compared to the other roads on this list, 527 can be pretty peaceful.
County Route 539
About: This is the road that takes you straight through all of Western Ocean County. County Route 539 begins in Tuckerton at an intersection with Route 9. Although it does have an interchange with the Parkway, Routes 72 and Route 70, this road passes primarily though the pine barrens. 539 travels through Stafford, Barnegat, Manchester and Plumsted (including next to the New Egypt Speedway). 539 goes all the way up to Middlesex County.
Traffic: Much like 527, 539 has less traffic than many other roads in Ocean County.
About: Although it travels through other counties in New Jersey, Route 35 is also known for being the road that goes through all of the beach towns in Ocean County. It actually used to be part of the old Pennsylvania Railroad that reached the shore towns. Now it’s the road that starts in Island Beach State Park, goes up through Seaside Heights, Lavallette, Mantoloking, Bay Head and Point Pleasant Beach. It ends up in Rahway.
Traffic: During the summer, especially during holiday weekends, this road can be a nightmare with traffic. It’s also paved horribly and it’s very narrow. But if you have to go to the shore, you might have no choice.
New Jersey Route 37
About: Many people call this “The road to Seaside Heights”. Although it is, Route 37 actually begins in Lakehurst (at the circle intersection with 70). From there it travels through Toms River (including an interchange with the Parkway) and then heads east to Seaside Heights.
Traffic: In the summer, Route 37 could feel like an endless road. Everyone from New York and North Jersey who goes to Seaside Heights usually takes the Parkway to Route 37, so it’s a jam-packed road in the summer. And even when it’s not the summer, Route 37 can still resemble a parking lot.
New Jersey Route 70
About: Route 70 travels from Camden to Wall Township, with Ocean County stuck in the middle. In Ocean County, 70 travels through Manchester, Lakehurst, Toms River, Lakewood and Brick. It intersects with 539, 9 and the Parkway. The amount of lanes on 70 vary from as many as 4 to as a few as 2 lanes when it goes through the Pine Barrens.
Traffic: If you’re stuck behind a slow driver during certain parts, it will feel really slow. During rush hour, it can even build up in some parts.
New Jersey Route 166
About: Route 166 travels from Beachwood to Toms River. Some people consider it to be an alternative to Route 9, as Route 9 merges with the Parkway next to 166.
Traffic: During rush hour, it might be congested. After all, it does go through downtown Toms River.
About: It’s also known as the road to LBI…because it’s the only road that travels from the mainland to LBI. Although Route 72 starts in Burlington County, it’s mostly an Ocean County road. It travels through parts of Barnegat and Stafford (intersection with the Parkway and 9). Finally, 72 takes you across the bridge to Ship Bottom and LBI.
Traffic: Another painful road to be during the summer. It’s the only road to get to LBI, and intersects with roads for travelers from New York and Philadelphia.
US Route 9
About: A major interstate highway across the Northeast, Route 9 makes it way through the Garden State. Actually, Route 9 has more miles through Ocean County than any other county in New Jersey. In Southern Ocean County, Route 9 travels through the Pine Barrens. Route 9 also travels next to the Tuckerton Seaport and the Oyster Creek Nuclear Plant. It travels through Strafford, Barnegat, Lacey and Bayville. It merges with the Parkway in Toms River (avoiding all tolls though). Then Route 9 travels through most of the different areas of Lakewood.
Traffic: There could always be areas of traffic on this road, especially during rush hour.
About: The Parkway has more miles through Ocean County than any other county in New Jersey. There are at least a dozen different stops from all areas North and South in Ocean County. There are also two toll places (Toms River and Barnegat). Ocean is one of just two counties in New Jersey to have two toll plazas on the Parkway. It’s a major gateway road towards Seaside Heights, LBI and other shore points. And it connects with nearly every other road listed in this guide.
Traffic: How bad is the Parkway during rush hour? Some people call this road the “Garden State Parking Lot”. And the speed limit is reduced to 55 between Brick and Toms River (which doesn’t exactly help alleviate the traffic). During the summer, with all of the tourists coming here, the traffic can be awful. Try to avoid heading south on the Parkway on a Friday afternoon during the summer and avoid heading north on a Sunday night (please vary those times and high traffic volumes with peak holiday weekends in the summer).