One day before the state begins its 12-week trial to close the jughandle turns along Route 1 in and out of Princeton, Mercer County officials have announced the closure of Quaker Road beginning Aug. 20 and lasting through mid-Feburary 2013.
The county’s project will close Quaker Road between Province Line Road in Lawrence Township and Mercer Road/Princeton Pike in Princeton Township in order to reconstruct the bridge over Stony Brook
It’s likely to be a tough adjustment for commuters, who have already been vocal in their opposition to the state’s plan to temporarily restrict left turns and U-turns on Route 1 at Washington Road and Harrison Street in West Windsor.
When the jughandle pilot begins on Saturday, drivers may no longer turn left from Route 1 north onto Harrison or Washington. Instead, they may use Alexander Road or continue north to Scudder’s Mill Road in Plainsboro and onto Route 1 south.
Quaker Road is a popular alternative to get to and from Route 1 from Princeton and with the six-month road closure, this will likely force more traffic onto Alexander Road.
NJDOT Spokesperson Joe Dee said on Thursday that the state was aware of the upcoming Quaker Road construction, but decided to proceed with the jughandle trial.
The state seeks to reduce congestion at Washington Road and Harrison Street intersections where the rightmost of three lanes becomes crowded with motorists waiting to enter the jughandles to make left turns across Route 1, particularly during peak travel periods.
The jughandle closures will begin on Friday, with signs and restrictions expected to be fully in place by Saturday, Aug. 4.
The state will collect traffic volume and trip-time data at numerous locations in Princeton Township, Princeton Borough, West Windsor and Plainsboro prior to and during the trial period to evaluate the impact of the restrictions.
NJDOT will then meet with stakeholders to present its findings, including the impact of the restrictions on Route 1 congestion and on secondary roads.
If the trial is deemed a success, the turns will not be restored and NJDOT will replace the temporary barriers with permanent ones.
According to the DOT, the following driving options will still be available to drivers:
- Motorists heading east from Princeton on Washington Road (CR 571) will continue to be able to make all current movements at the Route 1 intersection. They may turn right onto Route 1 south, proceed straight through the intersection to continue on Washington Road, or turn left onto Route 1 north.
- Motorists heading west from West Windsor on Washington Road also will continue to have all three movements (left, straight or right) available at the Route 1 intersection.
- Motorists heading east from Princeton on Harrison Street also will have all three existing movements (left onto Route 1 south, straight into the Sarnoff facility or left onto Route 1 north) available.
- Motorists departing the Sarnoff facility onto Route 1 at Harrison Street will be restricted to right turns only onto Route 1 northbound.
For more information, visit the NJ DOT's project-specific website where residents and motorists can get further information.