#b#To the Editor: Blunt Questions About Alexander Rd.#/b#

Any chance some of the Alexander Road chaos could be mitigated by having area drivers PRETEND they are crossing the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, which changes the number of bridge lanes in-coming and out-going daily?

Let’s test ONE lane going INTO Princeton University for the morning rush hour — say 6:30 to 8:30. And ONE lane going OUT for a similar window from 3:30 to 5 p.m. And then relieve the Route 1 backup anytime work has halted for the day. Make those flashing digital road signs earn their keep!

Perhaps there is an even better solution than my suggestions for the drivers who sit in traffic. Are work crews onsite for Saturdays? Is the work being done via double shifts?

If neither of these “test” options works we can continue the gridlock for a month. Having the university underwrite the Route 1-Washington Road cut-and-cover (which would replace the current jughandle at that location) is as important as — and simpler than — the challenges with the university’s arts and transit neighborhood.

Where are the NJDOT and West Windsor engineering staff in providing a timely, common-sense solution? Let these paid professionals sit in this paralyzing traffic to see if anything comes to mind. I am confident the university is eager to implement solutions which affect the public — and its employees.

University, township, NJDOT: let’s get moving! Thank you.

Peter R. Weale

144 Fisher Place, West Windsor

#b#And Some Answers#/b#

Pat Ward, director of community development for West Windsor, which is overseeing the work, explains that the deep utility work being done on Alexander Road includes the installation of large cisterns for stormwater containment that are difficult to cover with steel plates, as might be possible with relatively simple sewer line work. “We cannot guarantee safe passage of cars through there,” she says.

Because of the age of the utilities in the area, things are not always where they are expected, Ward adds. Crews have already hit a water main and a gas line. “There’s a lot of old stuff in there.”

As for double shifts, Ward says work is being limited to a day shift, partly out of respect for the residents in the area. The contractor is not required to work Saturdays, but work is being done on that day to take advantage of good weather.

The bottom line is that, despite the obstacles encountered so far, the work is believed to be on schedule for completion on Wednesday, June 29. And, she notes from experience, the gridlock is always worst at the beginning of a project, and lessens as people develop different routes and different times for their travels.

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