Fox unveils re-designed Hillsborough Bypass
New smart growth plan reduces
sprawl, preserves more open space
(Trenton) - Transportation Commissioner Jamie Fox announced today that the Department of Transportation has met a major Smart Growth goal set by Governor McGreevey, in unveiling a new design for the Route 206 bypass in Hillsborough and Montgomery Townships that preserves open space, concentrates development, and eliminates two planned interchanges that would have promoted sprawl and congestion.
According to Fox, under the new design, the bypass will alleviate congestion along Route 206 without encouraging sprawl development. The plan is a modification of the original project, which was slated to begin construction in early Summer 2005. Although funding for the construction of the bypass will still have to be identified, construction is still expected to begin by late Summer 2005.
In the southbound direction, the four-lane bypass will split from the existing Route 206 at Old Somerville Road and rejoin the highway at Belle Mead-Griggstown Road. The design includes one interchange along the bypass at Amwell Road (County Road 514), a major east-west corridor.
- Changes to the original project design include the following:
- Plans no longer include an interchange at Hillsborough Road.
- Plans no longer include an interchange at Township Line Road.
- NJDOT will not build a connector road between Hillsborough Road and Homestead Road.
Going South, the bypass will narrow to one lane in each direction starting at the Pike Run River, approximately .5 miles north of Township line Road, which is earlier than originally intended.
"We have redesigned this project to meet our Smart Growth criteria," said Fox, adding that, "the original plan to build a bypass with three interchanges would have been fertilizer for sprawl and more congestion." This is accomplished by reducing the number of interchanges along the bypass from three to one.
Diverting through traffic away from the existing Route 206 is designed to compliment Hillsborough’s plans to develop a town center along the old highway. The addition of the bypass will allow the town to create a business district with pedestrian-friendly crossings and access. "Smart Growth is not anti-development. Smart Growth channels development into our centers. It’s byproduct is community," Fox said.
NJDOT has included the interchange at Amwell Road in the bypass design because it provides access to town center area from the east. It also serves to better distribute traffic on this major east-west County Roadway. In addition, NJDOT will continue dialogue with Montgomery Township on the final design details of the Bypass, and on how to best accommodate access to Pike Run Road.
The benefit of narrowing the bypass earlier is two fold: traffic will merge a safer distance before the road rejoins the existing Route 206, and NJDOT will preserve more open space and a greater number of trees along the southern end of the bypass. "Trees are a natural noise buffer," said Fox, "and if it is possible to preserve even the smallest amount of open space without impeding the flow of traffic, we should do it."
The redesign of the Route 206 bypass is a milestone for Governor McGreevey’s Smart Growth initiative. Curbing sprawl limits the number of new bottlenecks across the State and allows NJDOT to clear up those that already exist. To further limit sprawl and preserve open spaces, Commissioner Fox has instructed NJDOT engineers to reassess right of way parcels as well as the design of a number of other projects, including the Route 31 bypass, north of the Flemington Circle.