The New Jersey Department of Transportation said it will follow a pilot program that allows traffic on a segment of the Route 1 highway shoulder by making that a permanent traffic policy for peak travel times in South Brunswick.
The agency said the pilot effect "has cut commuting times by 50 percent and relieved congestion through the area."
"NJDOT prides itself on this type of out-of-the-box thinking," said Acting Transportation Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti. "Traffic and congestion are a serious problem in New Jersey, especially along the busy Route 1 corridor. Working together, the department and local officials developed an innovative and cost-effective solution that improves safety and travel times on Route 1 that all motorists can appreciate."
The pilot project, which began in June 2017, allows cars to use the shoulder as a travel lane Monday through Friday between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on both Route 1 northbound and southbound lanes from Raymond Road to Promenade Boulevard in South Brunswick.
The project covers a bottleneck area where the highway narrows to two regular traffic lanes from three lanes before and after that section.
The department said it evaluated data over a six-month period and found that "using the shoulder as a travel lane resulted in three major improvements – travel times were reduced, more traffic was able to move through the area and safety improved as traffic spread out over three lanes instead of two."
It said average speeds during peak commuting times through the project limits improved from 13 mph in 2015 to 31 mph during the evaluation period. "That translates to cutting motorists commuting time in half through this stretch of roadway, saving motorists an average of four minutes each morning and evening," it said.
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