BERKELEY – With cars meeting in a busy four-way intersection, township officials want to get a traffic light installed to make it safer.
Mill Creek Road, Ocean Gate Drive, and Veeder Lane is a chaotic intersection, with these three roads mixing together at strange angles. It’s not uncommon to see drivers stop at one of the stop signs and wait a while for an opening, then hit the gas hard to pull out and squeeze into an opening and practically cutting someone off in the process.
Furthermore, a lot of people take Route 9 to Ocean Gate Drive. This is a common way to get to Ocean Gate and Berkeley Shores. So, it’s very close to another busy intersection.
There’s a lot of pedestrian traffic as well, Chief Karin DiMichele said. The H. & M. Potter School is also on Veeder, so there are a lot of reasons to have some kind of traffic device there.
There’s going to be additional traffic from the construction in that area, Mayor Carmen Amato said. He’s speaking of the Berkeley Crossing condominiums that are almost finished.
The township is making an official request for a traffic study of that intersection to try to get a traffic signal to make it less dangerous, he said.
Mill Creek Road, Ocean Gate Drive, and Veeder Lane are all county roads so the township can’t put up the light themselves. They made a request to the county.
County Engineer John Ernst said his office would be reviewing the request. Although he didn’t speak specifically about this intersection, in general the county looks at the volume of traffic – especially during specific times of the day – how the cars are turning, the number of accidents and other statistics.
Since there is a law against having two traffic signals within 500 feet, the state would get involved, he said. The State Department of Transportation would need to sign off on the project. He expects that the state would want any new light to be coordinated with the existing one on Route 9 so that it doesn’t shift any problems to the state road.
Berkeley was fortunate to get a new traffic signal at Frederick Drive last year. Although some complained about having another red light to deal with, police had been pushing for it for years. That intersection had three fatalities since 1999. It’s been the site of many other non-fatal crashes as well. However, since Route 9 is a state highway, they had to wait for the State Department of Transportation to approve it. That took several years.