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Bordentown Township officials ok Ward Avenue project

Design plans are in place for resurfacing work on Ward Avenue in Bordentown Township.

After township officials announced on May 10 that the municipality was awarded a grant from the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) for road surfacing work on Ward Avenue, the township committee recently approved engineering services for the road at a recent meeting.

The approval for engineering services on the project was finalized when township officials passed a resolution at a June 24 committee meeting to kick start the job and begin the bid process for it.

Township administrator Michael Theokas explained that $252,000 was awarded in grant monies for the Ward Avenue road improvements in May in addition to an earlier grant the municipality had applied for, which totals approximately $500,000 for the project.

Given the influx of pedestrian traffic along Ward Avenue, municipal officials announced that they are committed to making sure the road is equipped with safety measures once project is complete.

Since Bordentown Regional High School and Peter Muschal School are located on Ward Avenue, Theokas said the municipality felt it was necessary to do more than repaving along the road.

Officials said the project is planned to include road resurfacing and pedestrian safety measures such as crosswalks and sidewalks in the area of the schools.

In an effort to stymie potential accidents involving pedestrians along one of Bordentown Township’s main highways, Route 130, municipal officials announced in October 2018 a new initiative to increase awareness as part of a state-funded “Street Smart NJ” pedestrian safety campaign.

The state-wide outreach program is intended to educate both pedestrians and motorists to “Check Your Vital Signs” to improve road safety. Motorists are advised to obey the speed limit and stop for pedestrians in crosswalks. Pedestrians, in turn, are told to use crosswalks and wait for the walk-signal where applicable.

Along with additional signage, the township police conducted numerous pedestrian safety enforcement operations at problem crosswalk and intersection areas. The department also partnered with Cross County Connection Transportation Management Association  (CCCTMA) to assist with education, outreach and campaign materials, and identifying areas where pedestrian crosswalks and signs should be installed.

“Pedestrian safety was a big part of the [Ward Avenue] grant and a big part of this project,” Theokas said. “It’s not just a regular milling and paving job. There is a lot pedestrian aspects involved too.”

Not only are two main educational buildings in the township located on Ward Avenue, but major residential developments are situated near the road as well, which Theokas said the municipality had to be mindful of for the project.

“The big part of the project is that there is going to be some crosswalks, some pedestrian safety measures around Rydal and Southgate Apartments because that’s a big pedestrian area and the Charles Bossert Estates neighborhood because there are a lot of pedestrians there,” he reported.

Although no timeline has been given announced yet by officials as to when the project would be completed, Theokas said that officials plan to have it completed before the new school year begins.

“The goal is, especially when we are talking about the schools, that we would really like to get the project done this summer before school opens,” he said.

Theokas also said that there are no initial plans in place to work on utilities along the road from the township’s position, but noted that when the township does a resurfacing project, the municipality’s utility professionals are notified such as the Bordentown City Water Department, the Bordentown Sewage and water Authority, PSEG and Verizon.

“They all get notified that we are going to be doing this job, so we try to coordinate as best we can with them,” he said. “We make everybody aware as much as possible and work with them to see if they want to do any work while we have the road open.”

Municipal officials said that the ultimate goal of this project is to help interconnect the community with more walking and bike trails, yet be mindful of the safety for patrons traversing along these paths.

With Ward Avenue’s high flow of foot and vehicle traffic in the community, Theokas said the completion of work along this road is more prominent than ever with its alignment to the township’s goals.

“Ward Avenue is the direct access route to the high school, Joseph Lawrence Park and the Peter Muschal School, so we have two large educational facilities, and the township has placed a priority on pedestrian safety, so these are things that are very relevant.

“We have really tried to connect our township as much as we can with walking and bike paths, and other pedestrian beneficial things […] So, it’s important that our roads are safe, in good condition and public safety are certainly relevant and very important,” he said.

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