There is a slight silver lining for the Hillsborough Township community during the coronavirus pandemic, which Deputy Mayor Shawn Lipani alluded to at the Hillsborough Township Committee Meeting on March 24.
Lipani announced that because of the lack of traffic on Route 206 due to the statewide stay at home order by Gov. Phill Murphy, the township contacted the New Jersey Department of Transportation to push for construction to finish up the new 206 bypass from the vicinity of Old Somerville Road to the vicinity of Amwell Road.
The township received approval, and Phase III at the north end of the bypass will begin at or around April 1.
Detours and traffic around the north end are expected, but should be of minimal impact to the township due to most people staying home, Lipani said.
The final phase of the bypass began in spring 2019 with the Hamilton Street overpass opening in October over the bypass.
It’s been a nine-year process so far to build the four mile 206 Bypass, which is expected to open and shift traffic to a four-lane highway and allow a redesign of the “old” Route 206 into a corridor of restaurants and retail shops.
Completion of the entire bypass was scheduled for the fall of 2020 before the township was granted advancement in the construction of the north end of the bypass.
Lipani also announced at the meeting that all the township’s Department of Public Works programs have been suspended until May.
Until the township receives word from the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, Mayor Doug Tomson said the township’s Building Department will only conduct new construction inspections and fire flood rebuild project inspections at this time.
All other inspections such as building, plumbing, electrical, smoke detector, engineering and zoning have been suspended.
Tomson also suspended Saturday inspections until further notice.
Hillsborough Township Chief of Police Michael McMahon sent out a memo via the Hillsborough Township website that was reiterated at the meeting, to announce that the police department will conduct a new “temporary” patrol response plan going forward.
Police officers will be able to take reports over phone calls that do not require officers to respond to a scene to collect evidence, conduct an on scene investigation or other requirements that would deem an office to be on site.
Residents having incidents that meet this criteria should give their information and telephone number to the dispatchers as they would normally. A police officer will contact that party back as quickly as possible to determine the course of action and if a physical response is needed at that time, the statement said.
As the result of COVID-19, McMahon said he felt it was necessary to put in place a temporary response plan for the police department to practice social distancing and avoid contact with others as much as possible.
If a resident calls 911 for an emergency, he/she will receive the same professional response from police that they are accustomed to, he said.
Non-emergency fingerprinting and all community policing events, including YMCA basketball nights, have been suspended until further notice.
Firearm applications will only be accepted online at this time.
Residents needing to pick up a police report should contact the Records Bureau before coming to the police department. Arrangements can be made for the report to be delivered by email or by another fashion that doesn’t necessarily involve contact.