The New Jersey Department of Transportation will be conducting a pilot project on Route 1 in South Brunswick that aims to relieve congestion by opening the shoulder as a travel lane during peak commuting times.
The temporary project, scheduled to begin on Monday, June 26, will allow cars to use the shoulder as a travel lane for the 1.9-mile stretch of Route 1 northbound and southbound from Independence Way to Raymond Road between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. Route 1 is three lanes before and after this section of the highway, causing a bottleneck and delays where the three lanes merge to two lanes. The goal in utilizing the shoulder as a travel lane during peak periods is to keep traffic flowing, reduce congestion, and improve safety.
To prepare for what is known as “hard shoulder running” the NJDOT is in the process of repaving a quarter mile section of the Route 1 northbound shoulder from mile post 14.2 to mile post 14.5 and re-striping Route 1 from Independence Way to Raymond Road to provide for 12-foot wide travel lanes and a minimum 1-foot wide inner shoulder.
Signage is being installed along Route 1 to alert drivers about the temporary shoulder use. Rgw NJDOT also is installing closed-circuit TV cameras on utility poles along the project corridor so the shoulder can be monitored on a continual basis by NJDOT and South Brunswick officials.
The shoulder is scheduled to be open to traffic beginning on Monday, June 26 from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Trucks may not use the shoulder as a travel lane. Use of the shoulder will be restricted at all other times.
The project was developed at the request of South Brunswick. NJDOT then evaluated cost-effective solutions to help mitigate traffic congestion on Route 1. Hard shoulder running is widely used in Europe, but is less common in the United States. The NJDOT has been using the shoulder successfully on Route 29 northbound approaching the Route 129 interchange in Trenton for several years.
The anticipated duration for the Route 1 pilot project is six months. This may be adjusted depending on the operational and safety data gathered during the pilot program, officials said. If the project is successful, the NJDOT will consider making this a permanent improvement.