Study calls for improvements to U.S. 9 in New Jersey

| Friday, December 19, 2003

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 alone.

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 Administration.

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