Work on upgrades to the traffic signals on North Harrison Street, aimed at making it safe for pedestrians and bicyclists to cross the street, is expected to be completed this month, Princeton officials said.
The new traffic light has been installed, but not activated. The new traffic light replaces aging traffic signal equipment at that intersection.
Work on new sidewalks and curbs is moving ahead on North Harrison and its intersection with Hamilton Avenue, and North Harrison at Franklin Avenue.
Storm drain inlets also have been replaced at the intersections.
JC Contracting Inc. was awarded a $740,430 contract for the project by the Princeton Council in December 2019. Bids for the project ranged from JC Contracting’s low bid of $740,430 to a high bid of $923,013 submitted by Earle Asphalt Co.
The municipal engineer’s estimate for the job was $794,130.
The Municipality of Princeton was awarded a $674,071 Safe Routes to School grant by the New Jersey Department of Transportation in 2019 to make improvements to the two key intersections on North Harrison Street. The goal is to make it safer for pedestrians and bicyclists to cross the street.
Town officials will make up the difference between the grant amount and the contract amount. The town has money available in its capital accounts to cover the gap between the grant and the contract.
The traffic signals at North Harrison Street at Hamilton Avenue, and North Harrison Street at Franklin Avenue, are being replaced with new traffic signals that allow pedestrians and bicyclists to push a button to change the traffic signal so they can cross the street.
Other improvements include handicap accessible ramps to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, an audible alert and countdown heads, and automatic traffic signal changes for emergency vehicles, such as fire trucks and ambulances.
Also, a new layer of asphalt is being laid in the intersections, and regulatory warning and pedestrian signs are being installed. The intersections are being re-striped to include “stop” bars for vehicles, and crosswalks for pedestrians and bicyclists.
The two intersections are used by school children to reach the Princeton Charter School on Ewing Street, and Princeton High School on Moore Street and the Princeton Unified Middle School on Walnut Lane.
The project had its genesis in 2014, when Princeton Charter School parents reached out to town officials about how to get the children to school safely.
There are crossing guards at the two North Harrison Street intersections in the morning and in the afternoon, but the time does not mesh with the start and end of the school day for the Princeton Charter School and the Princeton Public Schools, officials said.
When town officials learned of the grant opportunity from the New Jersey Department of Transportation to replace the 40-year-old traffic signals, they applied and were successful in being awarded a grant.