Metuchen calling for full-service interchange on Route 27 to alleviate truck traffic coming from Edison

Route 27 sign

With redevelopment of the site of the former ExxonMobil Chemical Co. gas site into a 900,000-square-foot warehouse on Route 27 in Edison, there has been a renewed call for a full-service interchange to alleviate truck traffic problems in the area.

The discussion of a full-service interchange has spanned 20 years. And now with an Amazon warehouse, a Walmart, a Costco and another large warehouse on the border of Metuchen, borough officials said traffic “is only going to get worse” in the area.

Metuchen resident Lorraine Taurone asked the Metuchen Borough Council on Aug. 12 about the status of the full-service interchange.

“Twenty years ago, we were told [the interchange] was going to happen,” she said. “With whatever is going on in Edison right now at the former ExxonMobil site, it is going to affect Metuchen.”

Currently there is a ramp from Route 27 south to I-287 south and, on the other side, a ramp from I-287 north to Route 27 north.

Discussions on improvements to I-287 and Route 27 in Metuchen included constructing a full-service interchange near the Walmart store in Edison on Route 27 and Vineyard Road, for an entrance and exit ramp from Route 27 south to and from I-287 north.

Metuchen Mayor Jonathan Busch said Assemblyman Robert Karabinchak (D-NJ), a former councilman in Edison, moved legislation forward for funding of certain projects including full-service interchange project, which made movement in the state budget.

However, Busch said the governor’s office has held off on certain projects including the interchange project.

With the construction of a full-service interchange, Busch said truck traffic not only on Bridge Street, but also Main Street and throughout the borough, would diminish considerably.

“There’s no easy fixes,” he said, adding, even if the interchange were approved, it would take time to construct.

In the meantime, Busch said officials are committed to short term fixes. He said there have been discussions about working with Waze, a navigation traffic app, to find ways to possibly diminish the traffic.

Taurone inquired how she could help. Busch said renewed calls to county and state officials would help and he said borough officials would do the same.

Metuchen Borough Administrator Jay Muldoon added Metuchen Police Chief David Irizarry has been in contact with navigation organizations on how to reroute truck traffic off the small residential roads in the borough.

In March, the Edison Township Council adopted a resolution, which designated the redeveloper and authorized the execution of the Redevelopment Agreement with RG-Edison Urban Renewal, LLC for the former ExxonMobil Chemical Co. gas site on Route 27.

The area had been home to an ExxonMobil research lab and synthetics plant, which closed in 2014.

RG-Edison Urban Renewal, LLC is in the process of implementing and completing the redevelopment of a 900,000 square foot warehouse with 404 car parking spaces, 206 trailer parking spaces and 158 loading docks.

In proposed redevelopment discussions to alleviate traffic, Edison officials said the Lukoil and Dunkin’ Donuts property at 2195 Lincoln Highway (Route 27) would be moved and some of the property would create an acceleration lane from the ramp off Interstate 287, which is right in front of the former ExxonMobil property. The lane would pass the current jughandle to almost the southern part of the Lukoil property.

Edison Township through the resolution determined the warehouse project is “vital and [in the] best interests of the township, and that it promotes the health, safety, morals and welfare of the township’s residents.”

The Edison Planning Board and Edison Township Council designated the site as an “area in need of redevelopment” in June 2018.