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TRAFFIC FIX PLANNED

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For any motorist who’s ever been stuck at the intersection of Newman Springs Road and Broad Street while not one but two trains halt traffic, a smidgen of relief is on the way.

And for any pedestrian who’s tried to make it across Maple Avenue at Broad on one cycle of the traffic light, ditto.

The state Department of Transportation last night unveiled a makeover for the junction of Broad and Maple at the New Jersey Transit tracks aimed at improving traffic flows and pedestrian safety.

At the same time, the plan attempts to ease some of the frustration experienced by drivers on eastbound Newman Springs Road as they try to turn left onto Broad.

The fixes detailed last night at the Borough Council by borough engineer Rich Kosenski and two DOT engineers include:

• The installation of a concrete island in the center of Maple Avenue. The island will “shorten the pedestrian distance” across the mouth of the street as it meets Broad, said Kosenski, and give pedestrians a place to stand if they are unable to traverse the width of the intersection before the light changes.

In conjunction with better signage on Broad just south of the the tracks, the island will also serve to better channel northbound traffic, said DOT engineer John Fusella.

• A “sophisticated” new signal control system that will vary the signal rotation from its present fixed cycle, under which cars turning left onto Broad from Newman Springs are always the last to get a green, no matter when the cycle was interrupted by a passing train.

Now, “whichever street was next to move forward will move forward,” Kosenski said.

“One street isn’t getting a predominant heavy green at the expense of the others,” said DOT project engineer Chris Haritos.

• New barrier gates, to be installed by New Jersey Transit; and some new sidewalks.

• Left turns from Maple Avenue onto Broad will be prohibited.

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“Overall, I think this is a great improvement for a difficult intersection,” Kosenski said.

Fusella said the project would be put up to bid for award in June, start in mid-August and be finished by late October. Traffic disruption during construction will be minimal, he said.

Councilman R.J. Bifani said afterward that he was disappointed by the lack of a landscaping plan for the project.

“There’s no green,” he said.

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