Route 72 Project Progresses Slowly

Route 72 (Photo by Chris Lundy)

STAFFORD – The state is in the process of acquiring land for a road project designed to clean up the intersection and driveways of Route 72 and East Road, officials said.

The purpose of the project is to clean up some of the intersections to make traffic flow better and more safely. Among the changes first proposed by the New Jersey Department of Transportation in 2015:

Eliminate nine driveways to six commercial properties and replace them with three shared driveways.

Replace the existing Route 72 westbound to East Road jughandle (on a sign as Doc Cramer Boulevard) with a new reverse loop jughandle which connects to a realigned Martin Truex Jr. Boulevard on the south side to Route 72.

Construct a new intersection with a traffic signal along Route 72 and a newly constructed extension of Doc Cramer Boulevard. The extension will provide a double left turn exit onto Route 72 westbound and a single right turn exit onto Route 72 eastbound.

The two traffic signals on Route 72 will be synchronized to operate on the same cycle to optimize traffic flow.

Construct a 10-foot-wide outer shoulder along Route 72 eastbound.

Convert existing grass median along Route 72 to a barrier curb with 5-foot-wide shoulders adjacent to the median barrier.

Construct two overhead signs along Route 72 westbound to provide advance knowledge of the exit lanes for the Parkway.

Construct a new stormwater drainage system throughout the entire project.

Stafford Town Hall (Photo by Micromedia Publications)

According to the Department of Transportation, the extent of the project is from just east of the Garden State Parkway at milepost 21.71 to west of Captain Randolph Boulevard at milepost 22.68.

The project has to do with the streets behind the Exxon station on Route 72, township administrator James Moran said. The project has been going on for a number of years.

Now, they are in the process of right-of-way acquisition, he said. They have to survey and appraise areas they need to acquire. They need to make an offer to buy from landowners, and if the landowners do not want to sell, they can make arrangements to take it.

“The $18 million dollar project to widen Route 72 near East Road and improve safety is currently in the right of way access phase,” said Kevin Israel, public information officer for the Department of Transportation. “The slow pace of the project is because of the challenges reducing private access points to Route 72. The Access Management plan on the roadway required approximately 6 years to reduce the number of driveways and private access points to Route 72.”

The DOT expects the project to go to construction in the spring of 2018, he added.