ROXBURY, NJ – The state seems determined to do something about the intersection of Sussex Turnpike and westbound Route 10, even if it’s something bad for Roxbury, according to a policeman.
Discussing the matter Tuesday with the Roxbury Mayor and Council, Roxbury Police Lt. Marc Palanchi said the state Department of Transportation (DOT) seems unwilling to admit there’s no inexpensive way to make the situation safer. Instead, under pressure from Randolph to do something to prevent rear-ender type accidents at the intersection on the Roxbury border, the DOT is proposing projects that will harm Roxbury, said Palanchi.
The lieutenant first discussed the situation with the mayor and council in March. At the time, the DOT was suggesting that some of the problems would be resolved if westbound Route 10 traffic was disallowed from entering Main Street near the intersection, Palanchi said.
The DOT believed many of the rear-enders taking place at the scene happened because motorists reaching Sussex Turnpike’s westbound terminus start to merge onto Route 10 but have to suddenly stop when a westbound Route 10 driver cuts in front of them to access Main Street. Palanchi said many people who commute on Route 10 take Main Street to get to Kenvil Avenue en route to Berkshire Valley Road or Route 46 on their way home.
Disputing assertions the intersection is especially dangerous, the lieutenant said barring access to Main Street at the site would just create worse traffic problems farther west. Commuters headed for Berkshire Valley Road or Route 46 would then need to turn right onto Eyland Avenue. They would first hit the light on Route 10 and then the stop sign where Eyland Avenue ends at Main Street.
This, said the lieutenant, would create huge traffic jams during evening rush hour.
Palanchi said the DOT – upon hearing his objection to the initial plan – subsequently suggested eliminating the Sussex Turnpike/Route 10 West intersection by building a road between Route 10 and Black River Pond that would connect with Main Street.
This concept, he said, would also be a disaster for Succasunna because it would force all westbound Sussex Turnpike cars onto Main Street.
The mayor and council agreed with Palanchi’s assessment. “There’s no way traffic counts can support any of those plans,” said Mayor Jim Rilee, adding the revised concept – funneling all westbound Sussex Turnpike motorists onto Main Street – would “kill Roxbury.”
Palanchi said he fears the DOT is now operating under bureaucratic inertia, having invested a lot of time and consultant fees into the matter, and isn’t willing to walk away or do what’s really necessary: build an overpass of some sort.
The town officials, who said they thought the project was dormant, said it seems clear they need to do more to fight against it. "Maybe we should be more aggressive," said Roxbury Councilman Bob DeFillippo.