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Detective's Family Wants Route 70 Safety Upgraded After Fatal 2011 Crash

Detective Tina Rambo was killed in a head-on Route 70 crash in August 2011

Local police agencies are backing a call from the family of an Ocean County Prosecutor's Office detective who was killed in a Route 70 crash last year to increase safety on the state highway. 

The family of Detective Tina Rambo, who was killed in an August 2011 head-on crash at age 35 while driving along Route 70 in Southampton, wants the Pinelands Commission to adapt its Comprehensive Management Plan to enhance safety on the mostly two-lane highway.

According to a news release issued by Rambo's sister Tara Cunningham, her family and police from Manchester, Lakehurst, Medford and Pemberton believe Route 70 within the Pinelands should have barriers and be designated a Safe Corridor. Rambo's family and other organizations plan to appeal to the Pinelands Commission Monday night to allow for such a designation in the area.

"The very real fact is Route 70 needs barriers," said Patrolman Doug Higgins, Manchester Police Department's Traffic Safety Officer, in the release. "The long, unlit, narrow, non-center medium road is a major contributor to many of these accidents. Route 70 is one of the most dangerous roads in the state."

Chief Eric Higgins of Lakehurst also called on the Pinelands Commission to find a solution that is environmentally sustainable while taking human life into account. 

An online petition is being circulated by Rambo's family with the hope of creating safe corridors along Route 70. According to the petition, such corridors have not made it into a wish list for 2013 New Jersey Department of Transportation capital projects. 

"This road has been virtually unchanged since the 1930s" and "is inappropriate for use in 2012," the petition states. 

Last week, a township woman was killed and a Toms River woman was seriously injured in Whiting in a head-on collision on Route 70.

Safe corridor designations are determined based on "accident rates, fatalities, traffic volume and other highway traffic safety criteria," according to state legislation. A list of highways meeting that designation is available from the NJDOT. 

Manchester's Township Council in April also questioned the highway's safety. After a string of crashes on Route 70 in the township, members passed a resolution asking for help from New Jersey officials.

"The state Department of Transportation has failed to move forward with a greatly needed plan to widen this section of Route 70 and address these serious concerns," states the council resolution directed to the NJDOT, township officials and 10th Legislative District representatives. 

The resolution passed by the council in April urges the NJDOT to evaluate Route 70 in Manchester to "determine a solution to alleviate traffic and address the often dangerous and fatal accidents" on the highway.

Rambo's family said that help could come from the transportation department's Cross Median Accident Prevention Program, which since 2002 "identifies locations where cross-median head-on collisions have occurred and provides median barriers designed to prevent such occurrences at identified locations," according to the state. 

Pemberton Chief of Police David Jantas said in a statement that "many innocent people die by unsafe drivers" because of these median crossovers. 

"These accidents, like the one that killed Ocean County Detective Tina Rambo on milepost 21, can be drastically reduced by the erection of barriers and the widening of the roads," he said. 

GerryB September 27, 2012 at 11:22 PM
The road needs fo have a barrier. People will always dive poorly! A barrier will save lives.
Da Gr8 1 October 01, 2012 at 04:52 AM
this is asinine. rt 70 needs to be 4 lanes all the wayfrom toms river to marlton. this isnt a country bumpkin road anymore. and there needs to be a light at beckerville road. why cant the town/county/state see this??? how many more needless death should there be to finally fix this. as for the crazy drivers the very old and the very young are mostly at fault on this road. there is no need to be doing 45 mph holding everyone up nor 80 mph weaving in and out passing other cars. if everyone did 55-60 here then the road would be much safer.
Bruce from Burlco November 05, 2012 at 08:23 PM
I drive that road everyday, too. Exactly as you said with one addition: The number of those 70 mph drivers who pass against a solid line is mind-boggling.
Artist/Engineer May 18, 2013 at 02:27 AM
I read finger pointing and moaning. I don't read if there is any way we can pressure Trenton to do something to make Route 70 a safer road through widening and other safety improvements. The traffic load is obviously way too high for a two lane country road. 4 lanes with a Jersey Barrier and intersection improvements all the way along the two lane portions of Route 70 is the only thing that can and will improve safety on this death race road. Who do we contact, who do we pressure, is there a grass roots organization doing something to get the job done?
Ted Nugent June 09, 2013 at 03:27 AM
Move out of NJ - come to Texas where our speed limits are 70 mph MINIMUM. People do the speed limit- no slow poke old people creating bottle necks - people don't need to pass. P.S. Plus - people here are courterous - they pull over to the shoulder and let people pass if they are holding up a line of cars. The whole state of NJ stinks.

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