New Jersey law intended to expedite local roadwork

| 1/14/2009

Gov. Jon Corzine signed into law a bill giving local governments in New Jersey authority to make certain traffic engineering decisions without approval from the state Department of Transportation. Previously A2731, the new law took effect immediately.

State law previously required the NJDOT to approve many of the resolutions and ordinances regarding traffic management on local roadways.

Assemblyman Scott Rudder, R-Burlington, said that many of the decisions affecting local roads can be made in consultation with the local government’s own traffic engineer. He said it should not require the additional bureaucratic step of getting approval from the NJDOT.

“The Department of Transportation already has a backlog of approvals and this law will both ease the burden on the department and expedite local road projects, many of which are needed to address traffic safety concerns,” Rudder said in a written statement.

The new law provides municipalities and counties with the authority to rely on the expertise of their municipal or county engineers to control local traffic patterns by installing new traffic signs. Approval from the NJDOT no longer is required.

Bill sponsors said they were alerted to the need for the legislation after finding out that several municipalities illegally posted stop and speed limit signs without DOT approval.

“There is no reason for DOT to continue to be involved in every traffic management decision in the state,” Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo, D-Mercer, said in a written statement.

The state DOT does retain sole authority to authorize ordinances or resolutions limiting use of streets by commercial motor vehicles.

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– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor