New Rt. 31 truck controls sought

Proposal targets passing lanes between I-95 and Pennington Circle

John Tredrea
   At the suggestion of Hopewell Township Committeeman John Hart and with the support of township Police Chief Michael Chipowsky, the Township Committee voted 5-0 March 16 to seek state approval for barring trucks from using passing lanes on the section of state Route 31 between I-95 and the Pennington Circle.
   About a mile long and the scene of scores motor vehicle accidents in recent years, the stretch of Route 31 between the interstate and the circle has been characterized by many officials and residents as one of the most dangerous roadways, by far, in this part of the state.
   Four lanes wide, with no median and almost no shoulders, the road has several curves and low hills and is very heavily traveled. It has many unrestricted access points for motor vehicles, including dozens of driveways to homes and businesses and the intersection of several residential streets, including Diverty Road and Orchard Avenue.
   Mr. Hart said he believes restricting trucks to the right, or “slow,” lanes of both northbound and southbound Route 31 in this area would make the road safer.
   “It’s a very good idea,” Mayor Marylou Ferrara said of Mr. Hart’s notion. She added that Police Chief Michael Chipowsky had told her that he believes barring trucks from passing lanes in that section of Route 31 would definitely make the road safer.
   Noting that other towns in the state have posted “no trucks in left lane” signs, Mayor Ferrara and Committeeman Jon Edwards said they were confident the New Jersey Department of Transportation (DOT) would give the township the go-ahead to post signs barring trucks from using the left lane while heading north or south on the road between Pennington Circle and I-95.
   The DOT has jurisdiction over state Route 31.