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Freight Concept Development Projects Aim to Improve Truck Traffic, Rail Clearance

Two projects selected for the NJTPA’s next Freight Concept Development Program (FCDP) would address truck traffic in Southern Middlesex County and a bridge clearance issue in Morris County to allow more  taller, industry standard freight trains to serve the area.

The NJTPA Board of Trustees approved up to $1.5 million in funding for the two Freight Concept Development Program Studies during its meeting March 11 following approval by the Project Prioritization Committee in February. The funding will commence in Fiscal Year 2025(which begins July 1, 2024).  The two projects are:

Southern Middlesex County North-South Truck Corridor Project, Cranbury and Monroe, Middlesex County

This project advances the recommendation from the Southern Middlesex County Freight Movement Study, completed in June 2023 through the NJTPA’s Subregional Studies Program, to create a north-south truck corridor to mitigate the number of trucks traveling in residential areas. 

The current roadway network can cause trucks to travel on County Route 619 (Applegarth Road) or create confusion about the appropriate truck route, leading to trucks traveling into residential neighborhoods. Among the measures, recommended in the study are applying to the New Jersey Department of Transportation for truck restrictions on key local roads; installing new wayfinding signage for trucks; reconfiguring intersections to better accommodate truck movements, and reducing the speed limit on state Route 32 and standardizing the number of lanes in each direction. According to the study, Route 32 is considered a “truck crash hotspot.” The new truck route would be mostly parallel to the New Jersey Turnpike and County Route 619. It would add capacity and accommodate north-south traffic through Cranbury and Monroe.

Hanover Avenue Bridge Catenary Rail Clearance Project, Morris Plains, Morris County 

This project advances a recommendation from the 2013 Morris/Warren County Rail Corridor Study to explore alternatives for eliminating the rail clearance issue below the Hanover Avenue Bridge. Freight railroads use NJ TRANSIT’s Morristown Line, which has overhead catenary below the bridge that limits the height of rail cars that pass underneath. Once completed, the project will open the entire corridor from Phillipsburg to Morristown for taller, industry standard freight rail cars to travel and serve customers along the main line and several branch lines within Morris County.

More than 1,000 potential freight projects have been identified over the past decade in planning studies conducted in the NJTPA region, many of which do not have a clear path forward toward implementation. The NJTPA’s Freight Initiatives Committee in 2018 approved creating the Freight Concept Development Program, which included a process to identify and select projects to advance. The two projects were selected from among 27 candidate projects.

Posted: 3/15/2024 2:53:53 PM by dveech | with 0 comments