TOMS RIVER-A motorcycle crash on Route 37 on Saturday highlighted the dangers of potholes on one of the shore’s most traveled summer highways.
This week, the New Jersey Department of Transportation announced that the Mathis Bridge and Tunney Bridge that connect Route 37 from Toms River to Seaside Heights have been fully reopened, leading to a rush in weekend traffic this past weekend. However getting to the bridge has proven to be a problem for some as the stretch of highway west of the bridge is littered with potholes.
One couple, traveling by on the highway never made it to their destination because they were involved in a crash when one of their motorcycles hit a large pothole.
Leeza Ziemski, 24, of Toms River was driving eastbound on Route 37 around 2:30-3pm on Saturday, heading for the Jeep convention going on in Seaside Heights, struck a pothole while riding her Harley Davidson motorcycle. Kevin Fries, her boyfriend caught the incident on his motorcycle GoPro camera.
Ziemski said she was driving the speed limit.
“I then hit a pot hole that was so deep, it actually caused me to stand up on my motorcycle and then I went down,” she said. “I slid and was crushed between curb and my boyfriend’s bike who was trying to avoid running me over.”
Her boyfriend couldn’t avoid her.
“He then went down and ran to get to me,” she said. “Police came, and a few hours later I was in the hospital getting x rays and cat scans.”
Ziemski said she’s now dealing with severe pain and not able to move her body well.
She said she also has road rash that will now scar her body.
“All because of a pothole,” she said.
Ziemski took to social media to tell her story to raise awareness to the conditions of Route 37 as the summer tourism season is about to kick off and motorcyclists from around the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast will traverse the highway enroute to the beach and other events happening on the barrier island this summer.
“Someone is going to get killed,” Ziemski added.
The New Jersey Department of Transportation which maintains the highway said the pothole has been fixed and they will fast track a project that was slated to begin in 2020 to repave the road.