The New Jersey Turnpike Authority in the US has awarded four construction contracts worth $330.3m to widen and improve a 16-mile stretch on the Garden State Parkway from milepost 83.5 in Toms River, Ocean County, to milepost 99.5 in Wall Township, Monmouth County.

The parkway upgrade follows the highway safety assessment, which indicated that widening the section along with other necessary improvements will increase the safety of the drivers and passengers on the parkway, and reduce the chances of accidents.

New Jersey Department of Transportation commissioner and Turnpike Authority chairman James Simpson said: "When the project is complete, a section of the Parkway with narrow shoulders, narrow travel lanes and a history of accidents will be built to modern design and safety standards."

The New Jersey Authority selected George Harms Construction Company, Midlantic Construction and Northeast Remsco Construction for shoulder restoration work, reconstruction of bridges and other safety improvement works for a contract value of $84.3m, $75m and $100.1m respectively.

Turnpike Authority executive director Veronique Hakim said: "The Parkway will be like a brand new road for 60 miles from Atlantic County to Monmouth County once those two projects are completed."

George Harms Construction Company will construct the parkway between mileposts 83.5 and 88.5 in Toms River and Lakewood townships, whereas Midlantic Construction will undertake the work between mileposts 90.5 and 93.5 in Lakewood and Brick townships.

Northeast Remsco Construction will construct the parkway between mileposts 93.5 and 99.5 in Brick and Wall townships.

The Authority has also awarded a $70.1m contract to Earle Asphalt Company to restore shoulders, make necessary safety improvements, construct service roads and interchange ramps for a $70.1m contract.

The shoulder widening project is being carried out as a part of the Authority’s ten-year, $7bn capital programme, which also includes upgrading the southern Atlantic County to Toms River on the parkway from two to three lanes in each direction.

The project work is expected to start in September 2012 and be completed in 2014.