By Henry M. Holden
One of Morris County’s most heavily-traveled roadways received a major facelift, thanks to nearly five million dollars in approved repair projects.
Sussex Turnpike runs through Randolph, and serves as a commuter route to and from Morristown, the County College of Morris, and Route 10 in Roxbury. The road has been under design for safety and capacity improvements by the New Jersey Department of Transportation since the 1970’s.
In March 2015, the Morris County Freeholders approved a $4.7 million Sussex Turnpike intersection improvement project designed to enhance safety and traffic flow. Two miles of Sussex Turnpike between Hanover Ave. and Dover Chester Rd. were improved between March 2016, and mid-November.
“This is a much-needed road improvement project that will enhance motor vehicle and pedestrian safety at outdated intersections on this heavily traveled artery, and improve traffic flow on this major commuter route that runs through Randolph,’’ said Freeholder David Scapicchio, the Freeholder Board’s liaison on road issues. “The current configuration of intersections has long needed significant upgrades.”
The federal government will pay more than $4.5 million for the work, with Morris County’s share to be $122,600 to finance police traffic costs, and liability insurance.
To accommodate the widened roadway, more than three dozen utility poles owned by Verizon and Optimum were removed, relocated and rewired. The most noticeable improvement, in addition to widening the road at three intersections (Dover Chester Rd., Calais Rd., and Harvey Terrace) to allow for left-turn lanes was the realignment of West Hanover Ave. to intersect with Sussex Turnpike directly across from Brookside Rd. Approximately 800 feet of West Hanover Ave. were relocated to install this improvement. A new, much needed traffic signal was installed at this intersection. Pedestrian ramps that accommodate persons with disabilities were also installed.
“This is a major improvement for us commuters,” said Nancy Lee. “The traffic light and right turn lane here (Sussex Avenue and West Hanover) will eliminate the ‘I hope this person will let me get in front of him’ syndrome that has been the cause of the bottleneck here.”
The existing drainage system along Sussex Turnpike was modified, and a new storm water detention basin was constructed where West Hanover Ave. originally intersected with Sussex Turnpike.
At the intersection of Sussex Turnpike and Calais Rd., Sussex Turnpike was widened to allow for installation of a westbound left turn lane into Calais Rd. Calais Rd. was realigned to form a 90-degree intersection with Sussex Turnpike. Underground signal equipment was also installed for a potential future traffic signal.
The traffic signal at Sussex Turnpike and Millbrook Ave. was replaced and pedestrian ramps that accommodate persons with disabilities were also installed.
After finishing road and utility work a new layer of asphalt covered 1,000 feet of the road, making thousands of drivers smile at a new pot-hole free road.
Some local businesses such as Subway, Pizza Palace, and Hunan Wok also saw increased revenues from the construction workers during this period.
In addition to this county project, eight miles of township roads were milled and resurfaced over the summer with a cost of $1.3 million.