Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIV, No. 28
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
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Weather Forecast

Mercer Street to Reopen by Early August After Creating Increased Traffic Challenges

Dilshanie Perera

Borough Engineer Chris Budzinski predicted that construction on Mercer Street should be completed by the end of July or early August, with the road to open to traffic at that time. Challenges stemming from the closure experienced by drivers, commuters, and the Borough Police force have included increased rush hour traffic, roadway violations, and the need for officers to assist at major intersections.

Most summonses issued in the Mercer Street vicinity had to do with closed road violations, according to Borough Police Lieutenant Sharon Papp.

Due to complaints from residents along the closed portion of the roadway, as well as construction workers concerned for their safety, the Borough Police “did do selective enforcement” in the area, making “a lot of car stops,” Lt. Papp said. Local traffic going to the Princeton Theological Seminary and residences were not issued tickets. “We understand that people have to get from point A to point B,” she added.

Drivers who endeavored to avoid traffic on Route 206 and ease through Mercer despite signs informing them that the roadway was closed were in violation of New Jersey State statue 39:4-94.2, which says that if notice of the closure was posed at the beginning and ending points of the closed section of the street, and if a barricade was erected at those points, any person who drives a vehicle over or upon the closed section of the street, which they know has been closed to traffic, is subject to a fine of not more than $100.

Lt. Papp reported that as of February 1 when Mercer Street was first closed to through traffic, there have been 94 summonses issued. The violation requires a mandatory court appearance before the municipal judge, and most of the offenders were fined $56, in addition to a $33 court fee.

Both Lt. Papp and Borough Police Captain Nick Sutter noted that traffic patterns are monitored daily, and that officers are placed on the ground to direct car flows and to mitigate congestion when necessary.

Capt. Sutter noted that the intersection of Route 206 and Nassau Street, as well as 206 and Elm, and Bayard Lane have all been particular sites of concern regarding traffic congestion. Lt. Papp recalled that once Mercer Street was closed from Nassau Street to Lovers Lane, congestion began picking up along University Place and Alexander Road as well.

“We have lost about three weeks due to bad weather early in the project,” said Mr. Budzinski, referencing the heavy rains in March and April.

In other roadway-related news, Princeton Township Patrolman Matt Solovay reported that the project necessitating the two week closure of Washington Road from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays is now complete.

The Mercer County Department of Transportation was engaged in resurfacing the roadway. There were no accidents and no violations as a result of the closure, Mr. Solovay said. While there are currently no closed roads in the Township, the County will begin work on Quakerbridge Road within the next few days, he added.

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