Key Artery Closes for Repair
The pulse of downtown Princeton slowed a bit this week as crews began a long-awaited paving project on Witherspoon Street between Nassau and the intersection at Wiggins Street and Paul Robeson Place.
Beginning on Monday, Mercer County crews shut down that section of Witherspoon for much of the day to begin resurfacing the road. The street was again closed down yesterday well into the evening with work expected to cause delays through the end of the week.
The next portion of the street ‹ the section between Paul Robeson and the Borough municipal line, near the hospital ‹ is slated for repaving that could be underway by next week, according to Borough Engineer Carl Peters.
In the meantime, drivers will have to bypass the street, which, while not a county road, is being repaired under a county improvement initiative.
"The county offers its paving crew to municipalities for a certain number of weeks, and we got on the list because in the past couple of years, we haven't gotten much help," Mr. Peters said. In the beginning of January, Mr. Peters and Wayne Carr, director of the Borough Public Works brokered a plan with county representatives where the Borough purchases the materials for paving and striping, with the project carried out by county crews.
"Hopefully, it will work out nicely for us," Mr. Peters said.
The only county road in the Borough is Elm Road from Route 206 to Rosedale Road. "It's not a whole lot," the engineer added.
The first project done in the Borough under the county assistance program was last year, when a section of Harrison Street North was repaved.
In addition to Witherspoon Street, an upcoming project will include the section of Wiggins Street from Moore Street to near the Princeton Public Library.
The entire Witherspoon Street intersection at the library will remain untouched for now because the Borough has yet to finalize plans with Public Service Electric & Gas for burying overhead power lines. Improvements to the traffic signal at Wiggins and Witherspoon are also forthcoming.
In addition, the Borough is looking to widen the intersection on the southbound lane of Witherspoon Street to make room for a left-turn lane onto Wiggins.
"We've already done the widening on the library side, but on the side of the Arts Council, that curb has got to go over about three feet," Mr. Peters said,
That entire area will also have to be revisited as the Borough continues to look at drainage concerns with the as-yet-unbuilt Hulfish North development on Paul Robeson Place.