MILLBURN, NJ — In a trio of resolutions introduced at Tuesday Night's Millburn Township Committee meeting, the township voted on first reading to move forward towards the acquisition of land that would eventually be used to erect a proper stoplight at the intersection of White oak Ridge Road, Hobart Avenue and Hobart Gap Road.
Each of the three ordinances introduced at first reading during last night's meeting (2551-20, 2552-20 and 2553-20) allow the municipality to take the first step towards preparing easement of portions of three properties at that intersection. 2551-20 deals with 383 Hobart Ave., 2552-20 is 48 Hobart Gap Rd. and 2553-20 is 375 Hobart Ave.
Traffic flow at the intersection has been an issue the township. Currently, the intersection is only served by a single blinking light, which flashes a yellow caution in one prong of the intersection, and a red right of way stop in the other. The plan, if passed, would allow for a proper set of lights, plus other potential improvements at the intersection.
The ordinances offer Millburn Township the option to take the necessary portions of land by purchase or condemnation, but is explicit in stating an exact upper limit for the portion of land that may be taken. In addition, each portion of land up for easement has been appraised for a certain amount of money per resolution.
After the meeting, Millburn Township Business Administrator Alex McDonald explained the next steps in the plan, which include a second reading for the three ordinances, plus a first reading for a fourth in the project.
"First and foremost, there is a fourth that is necessary, as there are four corners to that intersection in which the township is going to need to take easement of in order to put in signal equipment and foundations for signal equipment to improve that intersection in partnership with Essex County," McDonald said.
As McDonald also explained, the move is a 50/50 split between the Township of Millburn and Essex County.
"At this point again, we're in the process of property acquisition through permanent easement," McDonald said. "So once that is complete, then Essex County can further develop the plans for the traffic signal and the intersection. At that point, then they're going to have to go out to bid They're controlling that part of the process.
"Once the township can get beyond the property acquisition for the permanent easement, then more of the workload is in Essex County's hands."
Millburn Township Mayor Jackie Lieberberg said the passage of the first reading for all three ordinances was key, as it now begins the process for the township to take authorization on this matter.
"It was very important to get the process moving," Lieberberg said. "We've been discussing the process with Essex County for a very long period of time, and i finally believe, no pun intended, we've turned the corner in addressing this and moving along to make it much safer for pedestrians and for vehicular traffic."
Lieberberg also said that the trio of ordinances are simply a measure that allows the township to pull the necessary land for a stoplight, not a full seizure of property at the locations.
"It is a construction, basically, to allow the town to acquire that property from private property in order to accommodate the traffic light," Lieberberg said.