FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NEWARK – Two Somerset County roadways will undergo a series of safety enhancements through a pair of projects approved by the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) Board of Trustees.
The upgrades are included among the NJTPA’s Fiscal Year 2012 Local Safety and High Risk Rural Road programs, which provide federal funds to counties and cities for safety improvements that can be quickly implemented. The Board approved the projects at its September 12 meeting.
The first project is designed to reduce crashes along an approximately 1-mile segment of New Centre Road (County Route 627) located between Auten and Roycefield roads in Hillsborough. The roadway will receive a high-friction surface treatment as well as new striping and stormwater drainage grates that are safe for bicycles to pass over. A total of $350,000 was approved for the project under the High Risk Rural Roads program
"The project area is a winding, rural stretch of roadway that has seen several crashes in recent years where vehicles have run off the road," said Somerset County Freeholder Peter Palmer, who represents the county on the NJTPA Board. "The treatment will increase the friction between drivers’ tires and the pavement, which will help reduce skidding and make New Centre Road safer for drivers."
A second project will improve safety at the intersection of Easton Avenue (County Route 527) and Foxwood Drive in Franklin, with a particular emphasis on reducing crashes by motorists attempting to make left turns at the site. The upgrades include the installation of a dedicated left-turn arrow, pedestrian countdown signals, new signs and the replacement of outdated traffic signal equipment. A total of $282,850 was approved for the project under the Local Safety program.
The Local Safety Program funds improvements to remedy documented safety hazards on county and local roads; the High Risk Rural Roads Program pays for safety projects on rural road segments with crash rates that exceed the state average. In total, the NJTPA will allocate approximately $3 million for Local Safety Program projects and another $1.2 million for High Risk Rural Road projects throughout the region in FY 2012. The programs reflect the priorities outlined in Plan 2035, the long-range transportation plan for the NJTPA region. Key goals of the NJTPA are to make travel safer and to promote walking and biking.
The NJTPA is the metropolitan planning organization (MPO) for 13 northern New Jersey Counties. Under federal legislation, MPOs provide a forum where local officials, public transportation providers and state agency representatives can come together and cooperatively plan to meet the region’s current and future transportation needs. It establishes the region’s eligibility to receive federal tax dollars for transportation projects.
The NJTPA Board consists of one local elected official from each of the 13 counties in the region (Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren), and the cities of Newark and Jersey City. The Board also includes a Governor’s Representative, the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Transportation, the Executive Directors of NJ Transit and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and a Citizen’s Representative appointed by the Governor.
David Behrend, NJTPA