HILLSBOROUGH, NJ – Mayor Gloria McCauley and several township officials met with the New Jersey Department of Transportation last week for an update on the stalled Route 206 Bypass Project and came away with good news.
The NJDOT confirmed the $53M project is gearing up and is on target to begin sometime in the spring and will take three years to complete.
“We are excited and looking forward to the completion of this phase of the project,” McCauley said.
Those in attendance from NJDOT were George Worth, Project Manager of the Route 206 Bypass, Meredith Hammond, Community Relations NJDOT, Matt Loper, Somerset County Engineer, Township Administrator Anthony Ferrera, Township Planner David Maski and Assistant Township Engineer Tom Belanger.
A 1.7-mile stretch of the bypass, the so-called “mid-section,” was built between 2010-2013.
“There’s a lot to be done,” Worth said at a public meeting held last year, emphasizing that the work will extend over three construction seasons.
In addition to the 2.3 miles of paved roadway needed to complete the project, work will include off ramps, jug handles, utilities relocation, bridge construction and realignment of stream beds.
“We don’t want to make life miserable for those who live here,” Worth said, conceding there will be partial road closures, and work at night and on weekends.
Once the Bypass is open, the township will begin to unfold its plans to transform the existing two-lane state highway into a more aesthetic, less congested Town Center roadway for the sprawling municipality that will help to promote a Main Street corridor populated by restaurants and shopping, according to former Mayor Carl Suraci.
Once completed, Phase III of the 4-mile Bypass will extend from Somerville Road to Mountainview Road.
The Bypass, first conceived in 1974, is expected to alleviate the chronic weekday and weekend congestion on the major north-south state highway.
Details of Phase III, as proposed by the NJDOT:
· Construct the proposed Route 206 Bypass as a divided highway, with two lanes in each direction, from the vicinity of Old Somerville Road to the vicinity of Amwell Road;
· Construct the proposed Route 206 Bypass as a divided highway, with one lane in each direction and a grass median, from the vicinity of Hillsborough Road to the vicinity of Mountainview Road;
· Construct bridges that will separate Hamilton Road and the CSX Railroad track from the proposed Route 206 Bypass;
· Construct intersections with traffic signals on the proposed Route 206 Bypass at Mountain View Road and in the vicinity of Old Somerville Road;
· Construct a noise barrier in the vicinity of Old Somerville Road;
· Construct a jug handle ramp at the existing Route 206 and Triangle Road intersection.
Work on Phase III of the project was shut down in August, 2016 when the New Jersey Transportation Trust Fund was running out of money.
Former Gov. Chris Christie and state legislators in October finally reached agreement on the 23-cent per gallon tax increase which went into effect Nov. 1, 2016. The estimated $53M price tag for completion of the Bypass will be paid by the TTF.
Phase I of the project, which started in 2010 and cost $40 million, involved the clearing of land and construction of the first 1.7 miles of the bypass from Amwell Road to Hillsborough Road. It was completed in October, 2013.
On July 18, 2013, Christie signed into law a bill officially renaming the Route 206 Bypass to the “Peter J. Biondi Bypass.” in honor of the late Assemblyman and Hillsborough Mayor Peter J. Biondi.
An official dedication and road opening occurred later that year.