If you are wondering what is being built at the corner of Route 33 and Woodward Road - the rumors are right - a full-service Wawa gas station and convenience store is currently being constructed. The establishment will be open 24-hours a day.
The application for this project was presented to the Manalapan Township Zoning Board in 2005, but construction did not commence until several months ago. The Zoning Board approved the application with thirteen variances.
The intersection will be widened, at the expense of the contracting company. Woodward Road will be expanded to four lanes alongside of the gas station to three southbound lanes and one northbound lane. The northbound lane will also have a passing space on the right side of the lane for ingoing and outgoing traffic from the gas station.
At the widened intersection, there will be one right turn only lane, one left turn only lane, and a middle lane that will only allows cars to travel straight across Route 33 and continue along Woodward.
The traffic light at the intersection will be relocated and Route 33 west will be widened at the section adjacent to the gas station. An additional lane will be created and marked as right-turn only at the intersection.
Entrance to the gas station will solely be available along Woodward Rd.; there will be no access to the Wawa from Rt. 33 West. According to state law currently, if two access entrances are needed for an establishment and there is a side road, both entry points must be placed on the side road and are prohibited on the highway. This ensures a good flow of traffic, according to Planning Board Secretary Eleanor Ruggiero.
Consequently, there will be two entryways along Woodward Rd. The entrance and exit closest to Route 33 will not permit left-hand turns. Therefore, if a driver turns onto Woodward from Route 33 the first access point closest to the highway allows entrance, but only an exit onto Woodward Road going north.
Additionally, cars traveling southbound on Woodward Road will need to turn into the gas station at the entrance further north (i.e. the first entrance they come upon) and will not be allowed to turn into the entryway closest to the highway.
The 5,041 square foot Wawa convenience store will also be open 24-hours. Besides typical convenience goods, the store will sell ready-made sandwiches, salads, fruit cups, and snack packs in their Wawa Express Case, and soft pretzels, hot dogs, and other hot snacks by the register. There will also be a hot coffee bar, soda dispenser, and a selection of frozen beverages. Employees will also be on hand to prepare be made-to-order sandwiches, wraps, salads, breakfast hoagies, and soup.
There will be 63 parking spaces, including 3 handicap spaces on site for the convenience store. A section for oversized vehicle parking will also be on site.
The gasoline pumps will be underneath a fuel canopy. There will be six gasoline pump stations that are accessible from both sides and two diesel pump stations.
Due to some involved underground work being done, construction on the Wawa will not be complete until December, approximately, according to Ruggiero.