STAFFORD - If you have been driving around Manahawkin this week you probably noticed the recent lane shifts on on Route 72. This is part of the construction happening between the Garden State Parkway and Stafford Square Shopping Center,

There is now a shift with a construction zone on the right of the road to continue culvert replacement work, according to the NJ Department of Transportation. Officials report that two westbound traffic lanes will be maintained during this stage of work. .

After the westbound culvert work is completed, officials will begin on the eastbound side of Route 72. At that time, the eastbound lanes will be shifted to the left. After about five days or upon completion, the eastbound traffic will be shifted to the right.

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NJDOT is expected to complete the Route 72 East Road project by late 2019. The project is meant to "provide highway and signal intersection improvements to address congestion and safety concerns," NJDOT said.

Improvements will result in the adding of a 10-foot shoulder in each direction on Route 72 between the Garden State Parkway and the Stafford Square Shopping Center.  There will also be median widening, new barrier curbs, new traffic signals and roadway improvements, according to the DOT.