County plans road improvements on Oak Tree Road

State, County and local officials broke ground July 19 on a $2.2 million project that will make the area safer in and around Oak Tree Road, Woodland Avenue. PHOTO BY STACEY BERSANI
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State, County and local officials broke ground July 19 on a $2.2 million project that will make the area safer in and around Oak Tree Road, Woodland Avenue. PHOTO BY STACEY BERSANI

EDISON — Try to make a left hand turn during rush hour out of the business complex at 2163 Oak Tree Road? Forget about it.

“Not only is it dangerous to make a left hand turn [out of the business complex], we have a child care center with small kids … a right hand turn [out of the complex] is dangerous as well,” said Michael Torsiello, one of the owners of the Torsiello Organization, Inc., the company that developed the complex.

Torsiello noted that when his father Anthony developed the complex he always envisioned a traffic light with safety of the public in mind.

The intersection of Oak Tree Road and Woodland Avenue in Edison and South Plainfield has long been riddled with motor vehicle accidents, near misses and traffic congestion.

As part of Middlesex County’s Capital Improvement Master Plan for 2017, a $2.2 million project will widen, mill and pave the roadway, improve drainage, install new curbs and sidewalks and upgrade signals at Park Avenue and Oak Tree Road and Oak Tree Road and the mall entrance that will be coordinated to improve traffic flow and safety for drivers and pedestrians through the area.

State, county and local officials from Edison and South Plainfield including Board of Chosen Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios, Freeholder Deputy Director Charles E. Tomaro, Assemblyman Robert Karabinchak (D-Middlesex), South Plainfield Mayor Matthew P. Anesh, members of the Edison and South Plainfield Councils, and others broke ground July 19 on the project that is estimated to take six months.

“The project is part of Middlesex County’s Capital Improvement Master Plan for 2017, the product of a systematic program to maintain our critical infrastructure,” Rios said. “As part of our master planning, we assess our roads, bridges, sports fields, buildings, educational facilities and parks. We do all this to ensure the safety and well-being of our residents, our employers, and those who commute into the County for work.”

Tomaro said the project will ease congestion through the area and make the roadway safer for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.

Anesh said he is a lifelong resident of the area and has seen the area grow, which has increased traffic.

“I avoid this intersection because of how dangerous it is,” he said. “I’ve seen near misses … this will make the intersection much, much safer and relieve traffic on Park Avenue where the traffic goes.”

Anesh said it is important for the county and local officials to work together on critical infrastructure that will attract businesses and people to the area.

“This is a public private partnership that makes sense,” he said.