HOPEWELL TWP.: Governing body will watch Rt. 31 traffic circle backups 


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By Frank Mustac, Special Writer
The Township Committee says it is watching with concern traffic conditions at the Pennington Circle of Route 31.
Committeeman John Hart broached the subject, describing an accident he witnessed last week on northbound Route 31 near the Lukoil gas station involving a pair of vehicles he said sideswiped one another.
He attributed the recent addition of two new traffic lights called “metering signals” installed by the state Department of Transportation on Route 31 for an increase in accidents and traffic backups entering Pennington Circle. One light is just north of circle, the other is just south.
“Those two lights have disrupted that traffic circle tremendously.” Mr. Hart said.
The metering signals are part of several changes made at the circle intended to improve traffic flow and safety, especially at rush hour.
Paul Pogorzelski, the township administrator, said he has passed on communications he received from Mr. Hart and some half-dozen other residents regarding traffic issues at the circle to NJDOT officials. Reports on traffic accidents at the circle, Mr. Pogorzelski said, have also been relayed to the transportation department.
“NJDOT continues to respond saying that they are studying it and they will respond to us,” Mr. Pogorzelski said.
He also said he requested NJDOT to reach out to Mr. Hart since they might benefit from the committeeman’s knowledge and observations of driving characteristics on Route 31.
Mayor Kuchinski asked the township administrator to “formally collate” concerns expressed by residents about the new metering signals, plus accident data at the circle and other information to pass on to appropriate transportation officials and ask them “what mitigation steps they’re willing to look at.”
Responding to a request by Committeewoman Vanessa Sandom, Mr. Pogorzelski said he would send traffic accident reports to all committee members on a monthly basis.
He also suggested that the Township Committee may wish to send a formal resolution to NJDOT listing the problems reported following the installation of the metering traffic lights.
“I think we should continue to look at this and do right by our residents and our visitors,” Mayor Kuchinski said. 

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