RARITAN, NJ - Somerset County is looking to move forward with adding a second lane of traffic between the railroad underpass and Route 202 on First Avenue in Raritan, heading toward Route 202 – but it would require eliminating some on-street parking.
The county is currently in the process of resurfacing the entire length of First Avenue, from Route 28 to the Basilone Bridge. The section from Route 28 to Route 202 was done a few weeks ago, and the section from Route 202 to the Basilone Bridge has been worked on this week.
In the process of getting that work done, the county has looked at the roadway itself, according to Raritan Mayor Charles McMullin.
“We have multiple things we are working on, including the jughandle, changing of the light at Route 202, reworking the intersection at 3rd Avenue and First Avenue,” he said. “The county would like us to consider, and it’s recommended by the police department, that coming from the railroad underpass going north, where it’s two lanes under the underpass, they have it continue (as two lanes) to the Route 202 intersection.”
McMullin said that after the underpass, the road currently goes from two lanes down to one, and then up to three at the intersection. The county is proposing to keep the two lanes all the way to the intersection, he said, where they would become three.
“So we would continue from 3rd Street all the way to Route 202 with two lanes,” he said.
McMullin said the only way to do this would be to take one lane going south and running along the west side of First Avenue to Tillman Street, which would eliminate on-street parking.
"We asked the police department, and I have a letter from them that it would have a positive impact for residents,” he said. ‘There would be a loss of some parking for those of us who are residents or visiting.”
“But we think the positive nature of the change outweighs any negatives,” he added, citing comments from a letter from Raritan Borough Police Chief Raymond Nolte.
The borough is advising the county that they are in favor of the change.