Sussex Turnpike Improvement Project
Posted: July 10, 2016
The following statement is from the township manager’s office regarding the project at the intersection of Sussex Turnpike and West Hanover Avenue.
On Tuesday of this past week, a decision was made by the Morris County Department of Engineering to open the new intersection at West Hanover Avenue and Sussex Turnpike. This action was taken despite the fact that critical roadway improvements, utility pole relocations and other necessary plan elements such as pavement striping and directional signage have yet to be finalized.
It is important for residents to understand the Sussex Turnpike Improvement Project is the responsibility of the Morris County Engineering Department. Randolph Township has no involvement with the project because Sussex Turnpike and West Hanover Avenue are Morris County roads and not local roads. We were advised of the county’s decision to open the new intersection at Hanover Avenue the week preceding the opening. We expressed strong opposition to this change and urged the county to maintain its original plan of opening the intersection after all other improvements had been completed. The county ultimately chose to exercise its jurisdictional authority on the project and opened the new intersection.
Over the past few days, we have heard from numerous residents regarding the new traffic pattern and the associated traffic congestion. We have forwarded these concerns to the county department of engineering and requested that every effort be made to mitigate the traffic issues. Our professionals at town hall have also initiated efforts to assist the county in expediting the utility pole relocations at the intersection, the greatest remaining impediment to the project being completed as designed.
In light of the recent change many have also inquired about the final design plan for the intersection and the connecting roadways. The critical elements of the plan are as follows:
- Sussex Turnpike at Millbrook Avenue eastbound will be restriped to provide for three travel lanes, a left turn lane with turn arrow, a through traffic lane and a through traffic/right turn lane.
- Sussex Turnpike at Millbrook Avenue westbound will be restriped to provide a right turn/through traffic lane and a through traffic/left turn lane with turn arrow.
- Sussex Turnpike between Millbrook Avenue and the intersection with West Hanover Avenue will be restriped to provide four travel lanes (two westbound and two eastbound).
- Sussex Turnpike at West Hanover Avenue eastbound will be restriped to provide for a left turn lane with turn arrow and a through traffic/right turn lane.
- Sussex Turnpike at West Hanover Avenue westbound will be restriped to provide for a right turn/through traffic lane and a through traffic/left turn lane with turn arrow.
- West Hanover Avenue southbound at Sussex Turnpike will be restriped to provide a right turn lane and a through traffic lane.
- West Hanover Avenue northbound will be restriped to provide a left turn lane with turn arrow and a through traffic lane.
- The utility poles currently in the intersection will be relocated, directional signage will be installed, and the lights between the two intersections will be coordinated to work in sequence.
The scheduled improvements, once fully completed, are ultimately expected to improve traffic flow through the area. Unfortunately the county’s decision to open the West Hanover Avenue intersection prior to the work being completed is irrevocable and there will be continued short term traffic impacts until all the improvements are installed. The county is advising us the timeframe for the roadwork completion is mid to late August. We are pressuring the county aggressively to expedite this schedule and to do whatever possible to address traffic issues in the meantime.
We understand and share in the frustration expressed in recent days. We also appreciate the patience residents and business owners have demonstrated throughout this long project. Hopefully this statement has provided some additional clarity regarding the project and our involvement in the same. Residents who continue to have questions or concerns about the project are encouraged to contact the Morris County Engineer’s Office at 973.285.6750.