HILLSBOROUGH: Montgomery road ‘improvements’ largely unneeded

They will damage rural township — why do it?

To the editor:
   This letter is in response to a letter to the editor from Mayor Ed Trzaska published in the June 20 edition.
   It seems the Montgomery Township mayor is announcing the “improvement” of the western mountain district of Montgomery. The area bordered by Grandview Road, Opossum Road, Cherry Valley Road, and Spring Hill Road may soon be subjected to road projects that could lead to an increase in traffic and speeding cars.
   History has shown that this may include widening and striping, big guardrail upgrades and increased bridge capacity. There are a multitude of sharp turns and narrow roads and bridges in that area. These are what keeps this area rural and a bit slower moving.
   The only major road changes in this area in the last 15 years are the traffic signal at Route 518 and Hollow Road and the paving of Mountain View Road. The large utility poles were put in and, to its credit, Montgomery was able to have them rerouted along the CSX right-of-way so as to minimize the course through the mountain.
   The smoothing of the 90-degree turn on East Mountain Road will propel more traffic into Hillsborough. Sharp curves slow down traffic.
   Hollow Road is lovely and winding, wide and able to support a lot of traffic in its current condition. It does not need further widening, guardrail upgrades, striping and bridge upgrades to make it safer.
   As for Camp Meeting Road’s one-lane bridge over the railroad tracks, when did this become a problem, or a critical safety issue? Additionally, there are two tracks under that bridge. CSX has floated the idea of using the tracks for a siding, with diesel trains sitting idling for days. Is it possible this improvement will hasten the onset of this?
   While Hillsborough has kept the approaches to this area unpaved, Montgomery has increased the suburbanization of these rural roadways. Of all the projects mentioned, the only road that appears to be particularly in need of repair is Cherry Valley Road. However, given the way of “upgrades,” Cherry Valley Road, one of the byways of southern Somerset County will certainly be turned generic — straight, flat, wide and ugly.
   Why would Montgomery do this? It is a beautiful corner of Somerset County. Many residents pay high taxes because they want it to remain in a rural state.
   For those interested, take a Sunday drive through this area and see it for yourself, though I hesitate to suggest the mayor visit the few remaining bucolic one-lane bridges as he may think these need to be “improved” as well.
Dan Wild