Planet Princeton

DOT Slated to Block Off Route 1 Jughandles for Trial Period in March: Public Information Sessions Scheduled for Next Week

The state Department of Transportation will hold two public information sessions next week regarding the agency’s plan to block off the jughandles at Washington Road and Harrison Street.

The DOT is expected to begin the Route 1 pilot project trial in March, and the trial will last about eight weeks.

Under the DOT plan, drivers heading north on Route 1 would no longer be able to use the jughandles at Washington Road and Harrison Street to cut across Route 1 in to Princeton, or to make u-turns. Drivers going north on Route 1 who want to go to Princeton would either have to turn off at Alexander Road or drive up to Scudders Mill Road and double back.

Information sessions about the project will be held Tuesday, Jan. 24 from 5-8 p.m. at the West Windsor Municipal Building and Wednesday, Jan. 25 from 5-8 p.m. at the Princeton Borough Municipal Building.

The sessions will include a presentation, and the public will have an opportunity to review exhibits of the proposed project.  Representatives from the DOT and the agency’s consulting firm will be available to answer questions and discuss any concerns.

According to the DOT, a previous study along Route 1 indicated that the two jughandles were inadequate to handle traffic, resulting in traffic backing up on Route 1 and negatively affecting the flow of traffic along Route 1.

Princeton officials and representatives from Princeton University previously expressed their opposition to the plan to block off the jughandles, saying it would add too much traffic to the already congested Alexander and Faculty roads. Commuters who use Scudders Mill road also say that road already backs up too much during rush hour.

For more information about the project or the two forums, contact Kimberly Nance, Office of Community Relations, New Jersey Department of Transportation, PO Box 600, 1035 Parkway Avenue, Trenton, NJ 08625-0600, tel. (609) 530-2110, e-mail Kimberly.Nance@dot.state.nj.us.

A previous version of this story said the Princeton meeting would be held at the Princeton Township Municipal Building. The DOT then corrected the notice to say it woudl be held at Borough Hall.

Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

  • David Keddie

    This plan should help. For those who currently turn left at the jughandles their commutes should now be faster even though they drive up to Scudders Mill to do a u-turn. The back up at Scudders Mill going southbound is due to the long lights at Harrison and Washington. The back up going northbound at Washington is similarly due to the long lights to allow for left turn traffic and due to the back-up onto the highway. Greatly shortening the length of those lights by blocking the jug handles as well as the elimination of cars backup up onto the highway should speed route one as a whole such that the extra distance to Scudders Mill and back will still be faster than sitting on route one waiting for the jughandle traffic to cross. The light at the Alexander exit ramp could also be timed to allow for more traffic turning left, preventing that ramp from backing up onto route one. We saw this approach implemented successfully with the elimination of the jug handle at Nassau Park Boulevard. While Nassau Park itself is a disaster from a road design perspective there was no value in backing up route one to allow a second entrance. Route one has enough lanes to handle its traffic load without congestion is only all the stop lights and excess entrances and exits were eliminated. When the money is found and if nimby opposition can be overcome then the millstone bypass will be built making Washington a bridge over route one and Harrison an interchange. That would solve that horrible bottleneck once and for all. We can see how the simple addition of the right turning lane at Harrison has eliminated most of the congestion that we’ve suffered through for year upon year. I think we should trust the traffic engineers to know what’s worth trying.

  • Karen Oliver,

    Route 1 North bound at Alexander is backed up because of cars trying to make the left turn at the Washington circle. Removing the ability to make left turns will eliminate that traffic. I would prefer that the circle was eliminated along with the traffic light at Fisher Place.

  • Karen Oliver

    The Alexander Street exit ramp going northbound during morning rush hour is already backed up onto Rt. 1, which in turn clogs up an entire lane on Rt. 1 North. With hundreds of people driving into the University — there has to be more than one exit going northbound or Rt. 1 will be a disaster!! I hope they think this through.

  • Megan, you would still be able to make left turns on to Route 1 from Princeton going north.

  • Megan

    How about if you are coming from Princeton trying to go North on Rte 1? I frequently take Harrison out of Princeton, turn left to go North on 1, and then immediately get off at Plainsboro Rd. With new pattern, would I now need to go South until Alexander to turn around?! Ditto trying to take Washington Rd from Princeton to WW…

  • Stephen Schreiber

    Whoever designed the new Harrison Street/Rt. 1 traffic pattern should be congratulated. After 32 years in Princeton finally you can get to Rt. 1 with out a long wait. If DOT can improve Washington Road like they did Harrison, I say go for it! None of us thought the Harrison improvement would work but it did. We cannot always be opposed to every suggestion just because it is a suggested. Obviously some things can improve our daily lives and we have to experiment to find them.

  • Josh Goldman

    Maybe instead of making the situation worse, the DOT could build a couple clover leaves? Not only would it solve their issues, it would put people to work in a tough economy. Has anyone seen scudder’s mills at rush hour, it’s already crazy backed up, now it’ll be impossible to navigate! Also, how about cutting a road between Harrison and Washington on the RT 1 side of the lake through the edge of those fields? I just hope if I ever need to get to the new hospital it won’t be at 5:30 pm!

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