George Street Improvement Project Nearing Completion

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – The city Traffic Commission reported on Wednesday, June 1 that the George Street reconstruction project, which began in July 2009, will be completed in six to eight weeks.

The improvement project, in its third and final phase, has included new road beds, sidewalks and curbs, bus shelters, bicycle racks, street lamps, traffic signals, benches and landscaping, said city spokesman Bill Bray.

The initial work covered New to Liberty streets, the second phase ran from Livingston Avenue to Church Street, and the final stretch is between Church and Albany streets.

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The project was put on hiatus during the holiday season and most of the school year to prevent construction from disturbing bus routes, Rutgers University students and downtown merchants, Bray said.

 “We did as much as possible before the school came back into session this past year,” said city Traffic Commission Chairman Mitchell Karon. “What you’re seeing now is the remaining piece of (the project). It should be complete by the time school is back in session.”

The reconstruction allowed the city to replace and upgrade the infrastructure below the current roadway and update the street with more current technology, Bray said.

“We replaced our street lights that were just regular old street lights with LED streetlights that use a fraction of the electricity and produce a miniscule amount of carbon footprints compared to the old fixtures,” he said, noting that that the city will save roughly 66 percent over the old-style lamps.

The commission also discussed the county’s plans to move forward with the New Brunswick Bikeway Project, which will stretch from the intersection of George and Bishop streets on the Douglass Campus, through Neilson Street, to Albany Street, then down George Street and down through College Avenue, said city Engineer Thomas Guldin.

The plan proposes pushing back some curbs at Neilson Street to accommodate the lane and in the process making the crosswalk there, used by many senior citizens, much wider, an idea that concerns the commission.

“That’s exactly the wrong thing to do,” said Glenn Patterson, city director of planning and development. “That’s going to make it pedestrian unfriendly.”

Guldin will communicate the commission’s concerns back to the groups involved with implementation of the plan, including the county engineers, Karon said.

The plan must be bid-ready by July 1.

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