The New Jersey Department of Transportation is working on some major changes to the interchanges around routes 287, 78 and 202/206 in Bedminster, and officials are proposing an additional plan that could improve travel for residents and visitors in the area.
“There is a plan for a significant change in the mixing bowl that is routes 287 and 78,” Bedminster Mayor Steve Parker said at the Feb. 19 township committee meeting.
The NJDOT is planning changes to the intersections at I-78, Route 287 and Route 202/206 to improve traffic.
First, Parker said, is the intersection of Route 202/206 and exit 22A off Route 287.
“The issue is that this is the exit that wraps around the Exxon and feeds into the southbound lane and right onto the jughandle that goes onto Hills Drive,” he said. “They want to elongate off the wrap, stretch it a little and get a speed lane coming in.”
Basically, Parker said, the NJDOT will be changing the ramp from I-78 East to Route 287 North, allowing drivers to enter the highway in the right lane and making it easier to exit at 22A onto Route 202/206 South.
From there, the NJDOT is also planning to elongate the exit at 22A to provide more time for drivers to get off the highway.
In addition, the NJDOT is planning to move the ramp from Route 287 North to I-78 East in order to make way for the new ramp going in the opposite direction.
Bedminster officials have issues a proposal to NJDOT with additional changes they would like to see based on this current plan. The changes are based on a recent traffic study done in the township, at no cost to the residents during the proposed DOT redevelopment plan that has since been scrapped.
First, Parker said, they are asking for the creation of a “T” intersection at the newly constructed exit 22A, which would be slightly further north than the current exit. With the new intersection, and added traffic light, drivers would be able to turn right or left onto Route 202/206, avoiding the need for the jughandle at Hills Drive in order to get to Schley Mountain Road.
“If you are coming off the intersection and end up on Route 202/206, you get to go to the jughandle, but you can also make the left hand turn at the light,” Parker said. “All the people going to Schley Mountain Road, they don’t all have to go through the jughandle and then make a right and a left. We think that would significantly reduce the volume of traffic on the jughandle.”
Another proposal from Bedminster officials concerned signage on Route 202/206 North toward the Schley Mountain interchange. Parker said they are hoping to have better signage and striping, particularly for drivers who are not familiar with the area.
“I know I, for one, can’t say how many times I see someone going southbound with the jughandle off to the right, and they are trying to make a left from the center lane,” he said. “They are all cars from out-of-state who don’t understand jughandles.”
Parker said they are also looking into the possibility of changing the signage at the jughandle near the DOT property on Route 202/206, at the jughandle at Hills Drive, creating a yield instead of a stop sign.
“Rather than coming to a full stop, if you are yielding and rolling through, it will help the stacking that comes back onto Route 202/206 South,” said committeeman Bernie Pane.
Finally, there is a suggestion to better signalize the intersection at Route 202/206 and Washington Valley Road.
“If you are on Burnt Mills Road or Washington Valley Road, there is one left turn signal and then another,” Parker said. “If the DOT can restripe and retime it so both sides can go at the same time for the turn, it might be better.”
“The DOT has seemed amenable to that,” he added.
Committeewoman Carolyn Freeman said this project is expensive, but it is all coming out of federal funds.
At this point, discussions are continuing on the proposals from the Bedminster officials.