New Jersey Roads - Route Log - Monmouth Log

Monmouth Route Log

This page comes from SPUI, who says "None of this would have been possible without the help of Edward Fitzgerald. He transcribed descriptions and dates from legal books, made copies of maps, and in general provided me with all the information I needed." Monmouth County maps from SPUI:
In the 1800s, various private corporations built turnpikes, which were toll roads built to what were modern standards at the time (graded dirt roads), with permission of New Jersey. Some of the later turnpikes were named and built as plank roads, which had a layer of wood planks on top of the dirt. Here's a table of turnpikes SPUI has found in Monmouth County; there may have been others:

Allaire Turnpike (?)Allenwood (?) to Spring Lake Heights
Deal Turnpike (?)Belmar to Deal
Eatontown & Seashore Turnpike (?)Eatontown to Long Branch
Florence & Keyport Plank RoadMorganville to Union Beach, with a gap near Matawan and Hazlet
Freehold & Colt's Neck TurnpikeFreehold to Colts Neck
Freehold & Englishtown TurnpikeFreehold to Englishtown
Freehold & Smithville TurnpikeFreehold to Mount Holly (?)
Highlands & Sea Bright TurnpikeHighlands to Sea Bright
Freehold & Howell Plank RoadFreehold to Adelphia
Holmdel & Keyport TurnpikeHolmdel to Keyport
Holmdel & Matawan TurnpikeHolmdel & Keyport Turnpike north of Holmdel to Matawan
Long Branch Turnpike (?)Deal to Long Branch
Manalapan & Freehold TurnpikeManalapan to Freehold, with a spur from Manalapan to Englishtown
Manalapan & Patten's Corner TurnpikeManalapan & Freehold Turnpike between Manalapan and Millhurst to Morganville
Manasquan Turnpike (?)Manasquan to Belmar
Middletown & Keyport TurnpikeMiddletown to Holmdel & Keyport Turnpike south of Keyport
Middletown & Red Bank Turnpike (?)Middletown to Red Bank
Monmouth County Plank RoadFreehold to Keyport
Red Bank & Eatontown Turnpike (?)Eatontown to Red Bank
Tinton Falls TurnpikeColts Neck to Shrewsbury, with a branch from Tinton Falls to Eatontown
?Freehold to Jerseyville

Monmouth County took over the Holmdel & Matawan Turnpike in May 1888 at a cost of $750 [Matawan Journal 5/5/1888 and 5/12/1888]. However, it was given to the townships through which it passed. A state law, entitled "An Act to enable boards of chosen freeholders to acquire, improve and maintain public roads", was approved on 3/19/1889. This enabled Monmouth County to start taking over and maintaining turnpikes and local roads. The 5/4/1892 Freeholder minutes mention an unspecified road in Eatontown Township being taken over by the county; it was extended to Oceanport in the 5/12/1892 minutes. Later minutes talk about legal wrangling relating to this road; it may have been given up by the state.
The next county road, probably the first one to remain county-maintained, was the Long Branch & Asbury Park Road, also in the 5/12/1892 minutes. This is Norwood Avenue from Deal Lake, the Asbury Park-Loch Arbour border, north to Broadway in Long Branch. Most of this was taken over by the state on 5/1/1920 as SR 4, but the northern part remains county-maintained as CR 25.
A February 1919 "Report of the Commission for the Investigation of County and Township Highways" explains that, by that time, there were 80 county roads, each with a single overseer. This matches the number of county roads on a 1929 county map, but this is coincidence. The state legislature approved a system of 13 state routes, increased to 15 in 1917, and 16 by 1921. Details on this system are on Jimmy and Sharon Williams' 1920's NJ Highways. These roads were taken over in Monmouth County at that time:

7/20/1918SR 4 from Red Bank to Middletown
6/1/1919SR 4 from Middletown to Keyport
9/1/1919SR 4 bypassing Long Branch from south of Long Branch to Eatontown, and then to Red Bank
9/1/1919SR 4 from Keyport to Middlesex County
5/1/1920SR 4 from Ocean County to south of Long Branch
5/1/1920SR 7 from Middlesex County to Asbury Park via Freehold

Soon after, before the end of 1921, the county roads were assigned numbers from 1 to 68 (or maybe 69). The rest of the 80 from 1919 had probably been given to the state or else towns. The new numbers increased from the southwestern part of the county to the southeast corner, then north to the northeast corner, and west to the northwest corner. From then on, new county routes were assigned the next available number, which was the number of a previously decommissioned route in two cases (33 and 56). Each of these county routes was a single line with no branches, with the exception of 5, which had two spurs to the Davis and Cream Ridge railroad stations.
The state routes were renumbered in 1927 and a bunch more were added. In Monmouth County, existing roads, some county-maintained, were taken over as parts of 4 (north-south through Freehold) and 37 (northwest-southeast through Allentown). A January 1937 map shows a new system of county numbers; this is probably just after the routes were renumbered. Any numbers assigned after this renumbering are covered in the log on this page. In this system, routes 1 to 5 seem to have been assigned to main cross-county routes, while routes 6 to 28 were numbered roughly along a line starting at Matawan, running east and south along the shore, then west via Freehold and southwest to the westernmost point in the county (the exact opposite of the earlier system). Many routes had several same-numbered spurs, most notably 17. A 1939 map shows that letter-suffixed routes had been assigned to some of the spurs, namely 5A, 6A, 6B, 7A, 8A, 12A, 13A, 13B, 17A, 17B, 17C, 21A, 21B, 23A, 23B, 28A, and 29A. Other same-numbered spurs remained, and a few of these suffixed routes even had their own.
NJDOT (or another state agency) signed civil defense routes in the 500's [New York Times, 2/6/1942] starting around World War II. These routes were meant for civilian use in case the military required the state roads. The ones in Monmouth County tended to fan out as they reached the shore, much like hurricane evacuation routes. In mid-1952, NJDOT designated a statewide system of 5xx county routes, completely different from (but maybe based on) the civil defense system. Unlike many counties, Monmouth County dutifully accepted these numbers and renumbered some of its county routes to take advantage of disappearing numbers. Then, on 1/1/1953, NJDOT renumbered many state routes in the Great Renumbering.
Since then, not much has happened. Routes added after the 1937 renumbering were given new numbers, starting with 29. The numbers are now up to possibly 58, or else 57. Monmouth is one of only two counties (the other is Bergen) to have not switched to the state-suggested 6xx system for secondary county routes.
There are a few old routes that seem to have been reabsorbed into the towns:

old #locationdatebecame
33?NJ 71 to 20?Main St, Manasquan 10/18/1921
33?Manasquan River to 204/9/1902Ashley Ave/Union Ln, Brielle 1/31/1927
?Deal Rd to NJ 7110/19/1927mostly SR 35 1928

A few more roads, from the Monmouth County meeting minutes:
October 12, 1898: Stone Church to Walter Maxson's hill. Roughly, Monmouth Ave., Navesink, Valley Dr. to Portland Rd. Not sure how long this CR lasted, or if it was around long enough to be numbered.
October 12, 1898: First Ave. to Swan's Corner. Hillside Ave. from First Ave. to Grand Ave.; Grand (Navesink) Ave. to Monmouth Ave. Not sure if First Ave. was included in this route, how long it lasted, or if it was around long enough to be numbered.
Monmouth County Routes

Italics mean the route number has been decommissioned.

3   3A
4   4A
5   5A
6   6A
7   7A
8   8A   8B
12   12A
13   13A   13B
17   17A   17B   17C   17D
23   23A   23B
24   24A
28   28A   28B
29   29A
40   40A
524   Alt. 524   Spur 524
526   Alt. 526
527   Alt. 527
US 9
NJ 33   Bus. NJ 33
NJ 34
NJ 35
NJ 36
NJ 66
NJ 70
NJ 71
NJ 79

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