End near for 'Jersey Left'?

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | Wednesday, July 31, 2013

With lawmakers in many states having long ago wrapped up their work for the year, New Jersey lawmakers can still move bills through the statehouse. One bill that could draw consideration would put an end to a common practice in the state known as a “Jersey Left” that some say worsens road congestion.

Sponsored by Sen. James Holzapfel, R-Ocean, the bill would prohibit the planning, designing or construction of any additional “jughandles” on roads or highways in the state. Existing jughandles would not be affected.

The distinctive turn lanes require drivers to exit right onto a U-shaped portion of road in order to turn left. Intended to help safely slow traffic, critics say increased traffic now results in longer backups.

“While jughandles were originally designed to prevent the buildup of traffic at intersections, they can no longer handle the high volumes that are now common on many New Jersey roads,” Holzapfel said in a recent news release.

Holzapfel says that modern intersection designs are faster, safer and easier for drivers to navigate.

The bill – S207 – could get consideration on the Senate floor once lawmakers return from summer break on Aug. 9. An identical Assembly bill – A3831 – is in the Assembly Transportation, Public Works and Independent Authorities Committee.

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