Commissioner Haley Directs NJDOT
to Perform Safety Review of Route 31
Entire Route 31 Corridorto be investigated Appeal
made to federal governmentfor action to regulate truck traffic
Transportation Commissioner John J. Haley, Jr. announced that a full safety review of Route 31 was initiated on August 20, 1998 in the aftermath of the fatal accident that occurred on August 19th, 1998.
"On August 20th, 1998, I directed that the Department activate its Safety and Operations Review Team (SORT) to investigate Route 31 in the vicinity of the accident and report back to me on what can be done to improve safety on this stretch of highway," the Commissioner said. "The SORT is a multi-disciplinary team of NJDOT engineers, operations and safety staff."
"Clearly, this accident involving three tractor trailer trucks brings to the forefront the need to maximize the movement of trucks on our interstate highway system and reducing the number of trucks on two lane undivided land service highways like Route 31."
The Whitman Administration and the New Jersey Department of Transportation have taken many key initiatives to address local concerns regarding truck traffic:
Speed limits have been reduced on routes 31, 206 and 518. DOT has been working with the State Police to see that safety inspections of trucks are being done.
Governor Christie Whitman has made several key proposals in her Transportation Vision, NJ FIRST, to address truck traffic: (1) seek federal authority to direct through-truck traffic onto divided highways while we guarantee local access; (2) Offer off-peak discount tolls to truck fleets and all trucks that use the N.J. Turnpike when EZ PASS is implemented; and (3) continue to support existing state and federal truck size and weight limitations.
DOT is also working with PENNDOT, the Pennsylvania Turnpike and the N.J. Turnpike and help facilitate construction of a new interchange of I-95 and the Pennsylvania Turnpike. This will improve system connectivity and reduce trucks on local roads.
Through the establishment of the Governor’s quad-state Council on Regional Mobility, Governor Whitman will make regional truck traffic issues a high priority and seek the support of the other governors in encouraging the use of interstates, the Pennsylvania and New Jersey turnpikes.
NJ Turnpike is building a new Interchange in Florence Township, which will provide better access to the Turnpike from Route 130.
Mercer and Hunterdon counties are currently developing justification to remove Route 518 from the Large Truck Network. DOT will support this request.
"Our position has been clear and consistent: We want the federal government to require that interstate trucks that have no origin or destination point in the State of New Jersey utilize limited access, divided highways such as the New Jersey Turnpike and New Jersey’s interstate system, rather than two lane undivided roads like Routes 31, 29 and 206," the Commissioner said.
"We will continue to do all that we can, in coordination with New Jersey’s law enforcement community, to ensure that safety on New Jersey’s highways remains our highest priority."
Attached is a letter sent today to Senator Torricelli, Senator Lautenberg and the New Jersey Congressional Delegation seeking federal authority to regulate truck traffic while guaranteeing local access.
Route 31 is 49 miles in length, beginning at Broad Street in Trenton and ending at Route 46 in Warren County.