NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Residents out and about on Mountain Avenue last week saw men in orange vests working with bright yellow equipment, the first stage of almost a half-million dollars in spending to make it safer to walk on the major Somerset County road.
 
The Somerset County Engineer, Matt Loper, received a major grant of $400,000 from the North Jersey Transit Planning Authority through a federal transportation program to replace the pedestrian ramps at each corner along the 1.3-mile stretch. The county will also be painting, known as striping, the existing crosswalks and are considering additional crosswalks across the road.
 
 
“All the sidewalk ramps will be upgraded to Americans with Disabilities Act requirements, including slip-resistant friction pads to prevent wheelchairs from slipping,” said Loper. “It’s mandatory that we complete this work, but it’s also vital to the safety of pedestrians and others using our sidewalks.”
 
The improvements are in the planning stage, and may include other changes including improvements to the buttons walkers press to ask a light to change at the intersections crossing Norwood Avenue, Watchung Avenue and Somerset Street. The schedule calls for bids to be accepted later this year, and work to begin in 2015.

 
Councilwoman Mary Forbes, who lives on Mountain Avenue, was glad to hear about the project.  “It’s always good when we’re investing in our community,” said Forbes. “And ensuring that all our residents, regardless of ability, can get around town is even better.”
 
In addition to the work on Mountain Avenue, Somerset County plans to repave Rock Avenue this summer from Route 22 to the Union County line.  Rock Avenue is in both North Plainfield and Green Brook, with the center line serving as the border between the two communities.
 
“We will be doing a complete milling and topping of Rock,” said Loper. “It will greatly improve the driving experience and create a safer road.”
 
Somerset County is responsible for roughly 20 miles of roads in North Plainfield and Green Brook, including: Watchung Avenue, Mountain Avenue, West End Avenue, Rock Avenue, Green Brook Road and part of Somerset Street in North Plainfied; and Green Brook Road, Warrenville Road and Washington Avenue from the Union County border to the Washington Rock state park.