NJDOT Develops New Proposal to Improve Route 1 Traffic Flow in the Princeton Area

Route 1 Penns Neck Intermediate PlanThe New Jersey Department of Transportation has developed a new concept plan for improving the flow of traffic along Route 1 between Washington Road and Harrison Street.

The proposal includes:

-Widening Route 1 to four lanes in each direction

– Eliminating the jughandles at Washington Road and Harrison Street again

– Adding a traffic light and two jughandles for u-turns about half way between Washington Road and Harrison Street

– Adding a new circle-shaped jughandle at Washington Road on the site of the former Exxon Station that is now vacant, so that drivers traveling south on Route 1 can cut across the highway and get on to 571.

– Eliminating the jughandle and light at Fisher Place

Drivers heading northbound on Route 1 who want to go in to downtown Princeton would take the new jughandle, go south on Route 1 briefly, and then make a right on to Washington Road. Officials from Princeton, West Windsor, Plainsboro and Lawrence have been sent the concept drawing. The NJDOT is seeking feedback from officials in the affected communities before moving forward.There is no funding for the project yet. Sources say the project could cost up to $35 million and is meant to be a 20-year solution.

The traffic and transportation committee for the town of Princeton is reviewing the proposal and the Princeton Council is expected to discuss the concept plan at the Feb. 25 public meeting at 7 p.m. in the main meeting room of the municipal complex.

The NJDOT eliminated the Route 1 jughandles at Washington Road and Harrison Street last August, but reopened the jughandles after area residents complained. Many drivers chose to made a right on to 571, and made u-turns along the road and side streets instead of turning off at Alexander Road or driving up to the Scudders Mill Road jughandle to turn around. The problems prompted Penns Neck residents to start a successful petition drive, and residents also held a protest along 571. DOT Commissioner Jim Simpson came out to talk with protesters, announced he was pulling the plug on the plan, and promised to come up with another solution.

Download a full-sized concept image: 8-laneAt-Grade-AERIAL_11x17

Editor’s Note: The NJDOT map is outdated. For example, the Eden Institute has moved. The Eden site is owned by Princeton University. The University also owns the Sarnoff frontage along Route 1.


  1. Making a U-Turn and traveling on Rt 1 S anywhere between Forrestal and Washington and is a nightmare during the evening rush hour. Its one reason the U-Turn to Mapleton from Scudders Mill Rd never worked in the previous plan. We need two ways to cut into Princeton – currently Harrison and Washington… Short of a overpass nothing would improve travel conditions for folks who want to go to Princeton, Montgomery, Kingston etc.. when coming from 295 on IN

  2. Ugh. As a motorcyclist, I hate tight 270-degree circles like that,
    period. On freeways, they’re a necessary evil, but they easily can be
    avoided in cases like this. Also, there needs to remain a way to turn
    onto Harrison Street while headed northbound. There is a TON of land
    Sarnoff is wasting for its “front yard” that could be eminent domained to create a much larger jughandle capable of handling traffic.

    1. The “front yard” of Sarnoff is actually now owned by Princeton University. I wholeheartedly agree that there HAS to be a way to turn onto Harrison St from Rt 1 N. Making a U-turn at Scudders Mill was just plain awful last fall !!!

      1. Ha! Did not know that! If that case, PU should have an interest in smoothing the flow of commuter traffic into town, and would be even more willing to allow for such construction.

  3. We can all thank the Hopewell, Pennington, Princeton and other local gentry for Route 1’s traffic burden. I-95 was supposed to continue thru Mercer, Somerset and Middlesex counties splitting off I-295 at what’s now Brandon Farms. Vocal local opposition from those in high places, partnered with the NJTPK authority nixed the federal I-95 highway development. Years later, Route 1 is overloaded, Routes 206, 31 and 29 are dangerous with rogue thru truck traffic avoiding the NJ TPK. Now DOT is attempting to improve the flow on Route 1 via removing lights and intersections… ie making it a limited access highway. I say, bring back the missing I-95 link. Sadly we won’t be here in the 100yrs that it would take to ever see that happen.

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