Turnpike Authority paves the way for parkway speed traps
By MICHAEL MILLER Staff Writer, (609) 463-6712
Published: Friday, April 27, 2007
DENNIS TOWNSHIP — Motorists on the Garden State Parkway will have more reason to watch their speed this summer in Cape May County.

While repaving this month, the Turnpike Authority built new aprons for State Police cruisers to lie in wait for speeders at choice speed traps.

Often, the troopers keep vigil in one of the maintenance roads that separate north and south lanes.

Police have been creative through the years, using the natural contours of the road and the cover of trees to disguise their vehicles from approaching traffic. But the best spots often become impassable during heavy rains when the shoulders soften to muck.

The new aprons will be all-weather worries for lead-foots.

State Police Lt. David Jillson, the station commander in the Bass River Township barracks, said he sometimes requests new aprons along the parkway, especially for traffic enforcement. But Jillson said in this case, the authority took the initiative to pave grassy areas that were denuded over the years by idling police cars.

“They recognized it on their own,” he said.

These areas become unsightly, too, when tires dig bare ruts and patches in the manicured lawn, he said.

Off-road driving is harder on the cruisers over time, he said. And troopers can be at a disadvantage trying to pull into traffic with their tires spinning in sand or wet grass, he said.

The dedicated aprons might give would-be speeders pause even when troopers are not parked there.

“The next time they come by, if they're thinking about it, they might perceive there might be a trooper parked there. To that extent does it help? I don't know,” he said.

Of course, police are not obligated to use the asphalt aprons. So they could be just around the corner.

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