Plan for Ernston Rd. gets the green light

Businesses to pay most costs related to new traffic signal


Staff Writer

SAYREVILLE — A traffic signal is expected to be installed at a dangerous borough intersection as the result of an agreement officials have struck with several local businesses.

The Borough Council is expected to approve a plan Monday that will bring a traffic signal to the intersection of Ernston Road and Westminster Boulevard. The action will follow months of discussions between officials and three businesses who will each pitch in toward the construction of the new light.

Officials and the owners of businesses adjacent to the intersection began discussing the light after the business owners raised objections last fall to the borough’s proposal for a concrete barrier at the notoriously dangerous intersection. At the time, officials said the $90,000 barrier project was the best option to curb the high rate of accidents at the intersection. Officials said the traffic light would be too expensive for the borough to fund on its own.

The Borough Council delayed its vote on the barrier due to the objections regarding the impact the barrier would have on local businesses. Officials have since held several meetings with representatives of the Mini Mall, Quick Chek and Pathmark in hopes of coming up with the estimated $400,000 it would take to put up a traffic signal.

“We have the agreements [on funding the project] from everybody. We just need it to be finalized,” Councilman Thomas Pollando said yesterday. Borough Attorney Judy Verrone, he said, is reviewing the agreements.

“It looks like it’s going to happen,” Pollando said.

Pollando said the Mini Mall, Pathmark and Quick Chek have all informed the borough they will contribute to the traffic signal project. As recently as two weeks ago, officials said that if the Mini Mall and its attorney did not get in touch with them, they would opt to go ahead with the barrier.

The tentative agreement will have the businesses footing the now anticipated $300,000 cost of erecting the signal, with the borough covering design costs, estimated to be $50,000. The borough was originally to fund the entire $90,000 barrier project on its own.

Officials said the borough has 90 days to complete the design work for the new signal.

“I’m happy for the tenants [at the Mini Mall],” Pollando said. “They dragged their feet, but I want to thank everybody … It’s great for the area. It’s what the people wanted.”

Robert Delia, director of real estate for Quick Chek, said the store will go ahead with a planned renovation and expansion because of the proposed traffic signal. He said the store would have suffered if the barrier went up, stopping left turns at and around the intersection.

“If the borough closed that intersection off [with a concrete barrier], we would absolutely vacate,” Delia said. “Business would drop by half.”

Though he felt the borough should cover the costs of the traffic signal, it was necessary for businesses at that intersection to take part, he said.

“For tenants and property owners, it’s really a survival issue,” Delia said.

Pollando said he is still disappointed with Old Bridge Township, whose governing body had previously declined to contribute funds toward erecting a traffic signal at the intersection, which many of its residents also make use of. The intersection is near the Old Bridge border with Sayreville.

“They use the road as much as Sayreville,” Pollando said.