Route 1 congestion relief project will use shoulder as travel lane during peak commuting times in South Brunswick
Cars allowed to use the shoulder from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
(Trenton) - The New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) today announced a pilot project that aims to relieve congestion on Route 1 in South Brunswick by utilizing the shoulder as a travel lane during peak commuting times.
The temporary project, scheduled to begin on Monday, June 26, will allow cars to use the shoulder as a travel lane for a 1.9-mile stretch of Route 1 northbound and southbound from Independence Way to Raymond Road between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. Route 1 is three lanes before and after this section of the highway, causing a bottleneck and delays where the three lanes merge to two lanes. The goal in utilizing the shoulder as a travel lane during peak periods is to keep traffic flowing, reduce congestion, and improve safety.
To prepare for what is known as Hard Shoulder Running, NJDOT is in the process of repaving a quarter mile section of the Route 1 northbound shoulder from mile post 14.2 to mile post 14.5 and restriping Route 1 from Independence Way to Raymond Road to provide for 12-foot wide travel lanes and a minimum 1-foot wide inner shoulder.
Signage is being installed along Route 1 and at each driveway, changing the yield signs to stop signs, to alert and guide the traveling public about the temporary shoulder use condition. In addition, NJDOT is installing closed-circuit TV cameras on utility poles along the project corridor so the shoulder can be monitored on a continual basis by NJDOT and South Brunswick officials.
The shoulder is scheduled to be open to traffic beginning on Monday, June 26 from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Trucks may not use the shoulder as a travel lane. Use of the shoulder will be restricted at all other times.
The project was developed at the request of South Brunswick, with NJDOT evaluating cost effective solutions to help mitigate traffic congestion on Route 1. The strategy of using shoulders as temporary travel lanes during peak hours is known as Hard Shoulder Running. Although widely used in Europe, it is uncommon in the US, but growing in popularity. NJDOT has been using Hard Shoulder Running successfully on Route 29 northbound approaching the Route 129 interchange in Trenton for several years.
The anticipated duration for the Route 1 pilot project is six months. This may be adjusted depending on the operational and safety data gathered during the pilot program. If the project is successful, NJDOT will consider making this a permanent improvement.