The closure of Route 1 jughandles caused no major problems — at least in the first few days, according to officials.
Jughandles were closed at the Washington Road and Harrison Street intersections on August 6 as part of a 12-week pilot program conducted by the state Department of Transportation. The program will be made permanent if the state determines that the jughandle closures don’t cause significant traffic problems.
Police in Princeton, West Windsor, and Plainsboro reported no major issues as a result of the closure. DOT spokesman Joe Dee said the state monitored Route 1 by camera and also with staff on site on the first day of the closure. He said that things had gone “pretty well.”
One problem reported by motorists on August 6 was that eastbound traffic on Washington Road was backed up from Route 1 to the Princeton Junction train station.
Complaints also came from Washington Road residents who said that drivers were coming off Route 1 during the morning commute and then using driveways and side roads to turn around and head eastbound into Princeton, according to West Windsor Police Chief Joseph Pica.
On August 7, there were reports that the jughandle at the Scudders Mill Overpass had also been closed — a problem since northbound traffic headed for Princeton was supposed to use the bridge as a U-turn. Plainsboro Police said the jughandle had not been closed, and motorists were probably confused by cones that had been placed due to road construction near the exit.
Pica said he expects that once motorists adjust to the new traffic pattern the problems will end. “That’s all to be expected until people get their bearings. If it continues we’ll address it.
“It did seem to help the flow of traffic on Route 1, though,” Pica said. “The real test will be after Labor Day when vacations are over and everyone is back at work, and kids are back to school.”
Meanwhile, another potential source of traffic problems looms on Monday, August 20, when Mercer County will close Quaker Road for at least six months to replace the bridge over Stony Brook.
The means the only option for Princeton-bound motorists will be to use Province Line Road and Princeton Pike, or Alexander Road to get into town.