After nearly four years, South Brunswick Township has finally obtained Department of Transportation approval to begin work improving the intersection of Route 27 and Beekman Road.
After the township went out to bond for the approximately $1 million project, the plan remained in limbo due to difficulties surrounding lighting at the intersection.
"This took a long time but we finally got DOT approval," said Mayor Frank Gambatese. "After we get the permits we can go out to bid and that will take about 40 days, so hopefully this project will begin towards the end of September."
will include widening the intersection, an improved turn radius, and the addition of a right-hand turn lane. The intersection will also receive a new traffic signal that will include right-hand turn only lighting.
The township remained in a holding pattern on the intersection improvements after going back-and-forth with the DOT on the lighting issue.
"We're waiting on approval for an electrical permit that deals with the lighting, that's the only holdup," said "We met with our state legislators within the last month to get them involved, but it's been back and forth for the last year on the electrical approval. At first they disagreed on the alignment of lights, so we corrected that. But the issues revolve around lighting at the intersection."
The project seeks to alleviate some of the congestion issues on Beekman Road, which is regularly clogged by motorists making various turns and going to the shopping center across the street in Franklin. An estimated 3,000 cars per day travel on Beekman as a connector between Route 1 and Route 27.
"This work is just absolutely necessary to help with the backup on both Beekman and 27, which is bad in the morning and in the evening is just horrendous," Gambatese said.
which includes the installation of two crosswalks and a speed limit reduction from 45 miles per hour to 35 miles per hour.
In addition to the Route 27 and Beekman upgrades, the state will also begin repaving Route 1 in South Brunswick, with work set to begin on July 2.
Now that work on the intersection is finally moving forward, the next issue for township officials is to determine the fate of a new Park and Ride previously approved for Beekman and Route 27.
The Township Council will hold discussions in July on finding an alternate site for the Park and Ride. Residents of the area have been vocal over concerns about additional traffic the new Park and Ride could generate on Beekman.
"We're going to be looking at sites south of Beekman Road that are close to Route 27 so people can park and walk to the bus shelters, or a large enough area on 27 so the buses can pull in," Schmalz said. "If we can get parking set back further from 27, it would be ideal for the buses to pull in, make a pickup and go."
The township had until the end of 2011 to spend approximately $2 million remaining from a $4 million federal transportation grant awarded to South Brunswick in 2006.
Work on that project was projected to begin some time this year.
The Beekman Road intersection, was deemed unsuitable to house the Park and Ride earlier this year. Final approval for the new Park and Ride on Beekman and Route 27 was contingent on the completion of the intersection upgrades, which have now been given the go ahead.
So while the improvements to the intersection should solve some of the traffic issues on Beekman Road, the council will decide next month whether adding a Park and Ride will negate those improvements.
Once the intersection has been improved, do you think Route 27 and Beekman Road is a suitable location for a Park and Ride? What other intersections on Route 27 need an upgrade to solve traffic issues? Sound off in the comments.