One of the most dangerous stretches
of highway in New Jersey may soon see improvements after the release of a study
by a joint state-federal highway safety team, the New Jersey Department of
Transportation said in a statement.
Transportation Commissioner Jack Lettiere joined
members of the team, as well as local officials and law-enforcement personnel,
to announce the safety team’s recommendations at the town of Old Bridge, which
sits along the stretch of U.S. 9 targeted by the study.
The dangerous portion of U.S. 9 runs south from the
New York City area through Middlesex and Monmouth counties; it was identified
as one of New Jersey’s most dangerous sections of highway as part of Gov.
McGreevey’s “Safety First” Highway Safety Initiative, the DOT said. More than
600 vehicle collisions occurred along the 10-mile stretch of the road in 2002
The governor’s $20 million “Safety First” Initiative
is designed to improve safety over the next five years through stricter police
enforcement, increased fines for unsafe equipment and hazardous driving,
enhanced driver education and highway improvements.
The safety team that conducted the U.S. 9 study
recommended a series of short-term and long-term improvements to the road. In
the short term, the group called for spending $1.5 million on better traffic
signals at several intersections, as well as improved pedestrian crossings and
the installation of electronic signs to alert motorists to upcoming signals.
In the long term, the group called for a separate
study on reducing traffic congestion and said that the state should beef up the
highway’s shoulders so buses can travel on them during rush hours.
The Highway Safety
Impact Team included personnel from NJDOT, the Federal Highway
Administration, state and local law enforcement agencies, the Federal Motor
Carrier Safety Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety