ROXURY, NJ – Faced with the “dedication” of a Roxbury police lieutenant who opposed the plan, the state has backed away from its proposal to close the westbound Route 10 ramp to Main Street in Succasunna, according to a Roxbury official.
In a report to the Roxbury Mayor and Council, township manager Christopher Raths said the state Department of Transportation (DOT) has abandoned the idea, something it proposed as a way to reduce the number of accidents at the nearby westbound Route 10/Sussex Turnpike intersection.
The Route 10 West/Sussex Turnpike intersection is in Randolph, right on the Roxbury border.
Roxbury Police Lt. Marc Palanchi has spearheaded Roxbury’s opposition to the plan, suggesting it would create a traffic nightmare for Roxbury. In his report, Raths said DOT Regional Manager Deborah Hirt recently told Palanchi he’d won the battle.
“I finally heard back from the head of our design unit,” wrote Hirt, according to Raths. She said the design unit leader told her “the design team had submitted the (traffic) “counts” to the Traffic Engineering unit for analysis and based on that analysis, the Traffic Engineering unit is not in favor of closing the ramp from Main St. to Rt. 10.”
The DOT initially figured that many of the rear-ender accidents taking place at the site were caused when Sussex Turnpike drivers, attempting to merge onto Route 10 west, started to go but then had to stop suddenly when westbound Route 10 drivers crossed their paths en route to Main Street.
In March, soon after Roxbury Township Engineer Michael Kobylarz told him about the state’s proposal , Palanchi spent time observing the intersection site, counting cars and measuring vehicle speeds. He said the real problem was a hump in Route 10, just east of the intersection, that temporarily hid fast-moving Route 10 cars from being seen by those on Sussex Turnpike who wanted to pull onto the highway.
Many Route 10 commuters heading home to places north of Roxbury use Main Street to get to Kenvil Avenue and Berkshire Valley Road, Palanchi said. He warned that closing the Main Street ramp would force these drivers to turn right on Eyland Avenue shortly farther west. This, said the lieutenant, would cause major traffic jams on Route 10 and Eyland Avenue during rush hour.
The state subsequently floated another idea that Palanchi also derided as silly: It suggested eliminating the Sussex Turnpike/Route 10 West intersection by building a road along Black River Pond that would connect Sussex Turnpike with Main Street. The lieutenant said this plan’s flaw was that it would force all westbound Sussex Turnpike traffic onto Main Street.
In his report to the mayor and council, Raths offerd kudos to Palanchi and Kobylarz. “Lt. Palanchi’s dedication to pursuing proper resolution of this matter is rightfully acknowledged,” wrote the manager. “In addition, Mr. Kobylarz raising the initial concern is also greatly appreciated.”