Somerset County News

NJ DOT Gets Green Light to Complete Route 206 Bypass

A crowd gathers around an aerial map showing the alignment of the Route 206 Bypass. Credits: Rod Hirsch
NJDOT Project Manager George Worth, holding aerial photo, responds to a question during Wednesday's public meeting om the Route 206 Bypass.
Close-up shows the 1,100 feet of frontage on the historic Van der Veer-Harris property along Route 206 that will be swapped for 12.99 acres of property on Township Line Road owned by the NJDOT. Credits: Rod Hirsch
Enlarged aerial photo shows the 4-mile Route 206 Bypass; the left side extends to Mountainview Road; the right side extends to Old Somerville Road. Credits: Rod Hirsch

HILLSBOROUGH, NJ – He’s got the land; he’s got the design; he’s got the necessary permits – and finally, he’s got the money - $50M or more.

He’s ready to go.

George Worth, Project Manager of the stalled Route 206 Bypass project for the NJ Department of Transportation, met with residents at the municipal building Wednesday to answer questions and provide updates on the partially-completed bypass, a four-mile stretch of road that when completed will extend from Old Somerville Road to Mountainview Road.

Sign Up for E-News

The Bypass, first conceived in 1974, is expected to alleviate the chronic weekday and weekend congestion on the major north-south state highway.

The information session hosted by the NJDOT also included a public hearing on a planned land swap within the township involving a portion of the historic Van der Veer-Harris House property that is needed for the Bypass.

The township would trade about 1,100 feet of Route 206 frontage, 50 feet deep into the property, where there now exists a sharp bend in the present roadway at Old Somerville Road. Totaling 1.83 acres, that property would be swapped for a 12.99 acre parcel owned by the NJDOT on Township Line Road. That tract, adjacent to the Belle Mead Dairy Co-op and the CSX railway would be dedicated as open space.

The historic homestead sits on a 10.4 acre tract, about 250 feet off the highway and about 200 feet distant from any construction work.

“We have no intention of doing any harm to the house,” Worth said.

The State Department of Environmental Protection Green Acres program must approve the land swap.

Worth said bids for the site preparation and construction work should be ready to go out in the fall, with site preparation beginning before the end of the year, with construction expected to begin in spring, 2018. Completion of the final two sections of the roadway is expected in 2020.

“We want them out there clearing trees and coming back after the snow melt so that they can hit the ground running,” Worth said.

“There’s a lot to be done,” Worth added, emphasizing that the work will extend over three construction seasons.

In addition to the 2.3 miles of paved roadway, work includes off ramps, jughandles, utilities relocation, bridge construction and realignment of stream beds.

“We don’t want to make life miserable for those who live here,” Worth said, conceding there will be partial road closures, and work at night and on weekends.

Once the Bypass is open, the township will begin to unfold its plans to transform the existing two-lane state highway into a more aesthetic, less congested Town Center roadway for the sprawling municipality that will help to promote a Main Street corridor populated by restaurants and shopping, according to Mayor Carl Suraci.

Details of Phase III, as proposed by the NJDOT:

·        Construct the proposed Route 206 Bypass as a divided highway, with two lanes in each direction, from the vicinity of Old Somerville Road to the vicinity of Amwell Road;

·        Construct the proposed Route 206 Bypass as a divided highway, with one lane in each direction and a grass median, from the vicinity of Hillsborough Road to the vicinity of Mountainview Road;

·         Construct bridges that will separate Hamilton Road and the CSX Railroad track from the proposed Route 206 Bypass;

·        Construct intersections with traffic signals on the proposed Route 206 Bypass at Mountain View Road and in the vicinity of Old Somerville Road;

·        Construct a noise barrier in the vicinity of Old Somerville Road;

·        Construct a jug handle ramp at the existing Route 206 and Triangle Road intersection.  

Work on Phase III of the project was shut down in August last year when the New Jersey Transportation Trust Fund was running out of money.

Gov. Chris Christie and state legislators in October finally reached agreement on the 23-cent per gallon tax increase which went into effect Nov. 1. The estimated $53M price tag for completion of the Bypass will be paid by the TTF. Worth said there is a possibility bids may come in lower than that number.

Phase I of the project, which started in 2011 and cost $40 million, involved the clearing of land and construction of the first 1.7 miles of the bypass from Amwell Road to Hillsborough Road. It was completed in October, 2013. Christie presided at opening ceremonies, which included the naming of that section of the bypass for Peter Biondi, the former township mayor and state Assemblyman.

Phase II involved site improvements, utility work, preparation of the road bed and clearing trees on the remaining 2.3 miles of the planned Bypass on either end of the completed section. That work was completed in 2015.

Worth said first priority is construction on the northern segment of the roadway between Old Somerville Road and Amwell Road, including the Royce Brook bridge.

Worth said a 200-foot length of the Royce Brook stream bed will need to be reconfigured; much of that area in the vicinity of Old Somerville Road has a high water table and a population of wood turtles, which was singled out in the environmental permit issued by the state Department of Environmental Protection:

“In order to protect the wood turtle habitat within and adjacent to Royce Brook and Royce Brook Tributary B, the following timing restrictions shall apply:

“In stream work (including stream bank excavation): In order to prevent adverse impacts to hibernating turtles, no site preparation disturbance, grading, clearing or construction activity is permitted within the banks of the referenced watercourse between Nov. 1 and April 1.”

The Indian bat, an endangered species, is also singled out for protection by the DEP.

NJDOT field work, including a wildlife census determined there was a concentration of the Indiana bat in the project area.

The permit specifies, “In order to protect potential summer habitat for the federally listed Indiana bat, no tree clearing is permitted from April 1-Sept. 20. In addition, reforestation plans for the site shall include planting suitable roost trees for the Indiana bat.” 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News


UPDATE: Four’Easter May Bring Another Foot of Snow, Be Prepared for School Closures and Power Outages in Warren Township and Surrounding Area

March 20, 2018

WARREN, NJ - Happy Spring. Get the milk, bread and eggs. Get the generator, gas and chainsaw and be prepared to lose another day of spring break if Wednesday is called a snow day. Heavy mixed precipitation is expected with snow accumulations of 8 to 14 inches in our area by Wednesday evening when the fourth Nor’easter of the year hits. #foureaster is trending, and Winter does ...

Warren Township to Collect Winter Storm Quinn Tree Debris

WARREN, NJ - The Department of Public Works of Warren Township will be collecting tree and brush debris from all Warren Township residents in the aftermath of Winter Storm Quinn.

Due to the intense effects of Storm Quinn that impacted Warren Township on March 7, the Township Committee has authorized and directed the DPW to. begin the collection process ...

Somerset County Opens Emergency Shelter for Storm Victims at RVCC

BRANCHBURG, NJ – Due to the extended power outages in Somerset County as a result of Winter Storm Quinn and the expected cold temperatures over the next few days, the Somerset County Office of Emergency Management has partnered with the American Red Cross to open a shelter for county residents at Raritan Valley Community College.

The shelter opened as of 5:30 p.m. Saturday, ...

Update from Warren Office of Emergency Management on Saturday, Mar. 10

WARREN, NJ - The Warren Township Office of Emergency Management has provided a timeline and Jane Asch at Warren’s Office of Emergency Management has updated storm recovery information as of 1 p.m. Saturday, March 10 with the following:



The most pressing issue is restoration of power. It may be helpful to understand the triage system both JCP&L and ...

JCP&L Update: Preparing for the Storm

March 21, 2018


With predictions of more than a foot of heavy, wet snow and wind gusts up to 45 mph, JCP&L is prepared for the storm. We have implemented storm and staffing plans and are ready to respond appropriately should this next wave of severe weather cause power outages. 

What we’ve done to prepare: 

Secured mutual assistance ...

Wellness of Warren Holds Open House

WARREN, NJ: - Wellness of Warren is hosting an Open House on Tuesday, March 27 from 6 to 8 pm.  This unique group of offices is located 112 Town Center Drive in Warren, New Jersey.

Come and enjoy the evening with like-minded wellness professionals. Visit the Wellness of Warren office space (fractional offices space available) that provides an array of holistic and natural wellness ...


South Plainfield – Joanne Gallo, 68, of Palm Beach Gardens, FL and Warren, NJ, passed away ...
Read more

AAA Cautions: Daylight Saving Could Affect Daily Commute

March 10, 2018

WARREN, NJ - AAA is reminding drivers that the change to Daylight Saving Time may create distractions on the roadway and challenges for drivers who lost an hour of sleep. Daylight Saving Time begins on Sunday at 2 a.m.

“As we spring forward, drivers should be aware that the time change will also mean changes to driving habits,” said Robert Sinclair, Manager of Media ...

Warren Township Ranks as 25th Safest City in America and 6th in New Jersey for 2018, National Council for Home Safety and Security Says

March 22, 2018

WARREN, NJ - Warren Township is the sixth safest city in New Jersey and also ranks as No. 25 in the Top 100 Safest Cities in America for 2018, the National Council for Home Safety and Security says in its latest ranking.


“As Mayor, I believe that I speak for the entire Township Committee regarding our appreciation of the efforts of our Police Department and all ...

Recycling Will be Collected as Scheduled in Warren and Watchung, Senior Centers Closed

WARREN, NJ - Recycling will be picked up as scheduled today, March 22 in Warren, Watchung, and Martinsville. Leave recyclables at the curb. The Somerset County Recycling Division thanks residents for their patience and cooperation.

You can view the 2018 Recycling Collection Schedule and more at


For those ...

School Bus Driver Charged with Sex Assaults Against Students

MONTGOMERY, NJ – An 84-year-old township resident has been arrested and charged with sexual assault against an 8-and 12-year-old and as many as seven other children while a bus driver going back to the 1960s, according to Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson.

Edward Atoeff of Cherry Valley Road was the owner and operator of Jastyke Transportation at the time of the alleged ...

Whole Foods Delays Opening Due to Predicted Storm

BRIDGEWATER, NJ — Whole Foods, in the new Chimney Rock Plaza in Bridgewater, is officially opening its doors on Friday, March 23.

It was originally scheduled to open March 21, but the opening was delayed because of the predicted nor'easter.

The Bridgewater location is the first Whole Foods in Somerset County. 

The 49,000-square-foot store is featuring ...

The Perfect Travel Pack - The Airport Repack Because of a Delayed Flight - What You Really Need

March 21, 2018

If you have traveled a lot, you have had a canceled flight.  Do you know how to do an airport in such cases?

Well, on a recent canceled flight on Norwegian Air from Berlin to New York, we had to do it.  Our experience is now your gain.

The slide show above shows you step by step, how it was accomplished.  Here we will explain it.

For starters, think about your ...

Air Travel Alert - 1,810 Area Flights Canceled for Wednesday - Check Here For Survival Tips in this Fourth Nor’easter

Whenever there is inclement weather, it pays to keep informed. Wednesday, March 21, 780 flights from Newark and 440 from JFK are already canceled.  LaGuardia canceled 590.  In other words, you are probably snowed in today.

Most Airlines now offer APP, text, or email updates to flight delays.  Make sure to sign up for them.  That will ...

Will Your Air Travels Be Impacted by Our Fourth Nor’easter (Fourth? Is it the End?)

After three Nor’easters, you would think we could catch a break. They do say the fourth one is always the best.  This time, we should be very well practiced.

By now, you know the drill. This article has advice on local and airline support services. You may want to bookmark the page for future reference. 

Most Airlines now offer APP, text, or email updates to flight ...

St. Patrick’s Day Sobriety Check in Belmar/Neptune Area on Tap by State Police

March 17, 2018

BELMAR, NJ — Giving no details on location and time, New Jersey State Police plans to conduct a sobriety checkpoint on Saturday, March 17 in the area of Belmar and Neptune Township,

The state police made the announcement on its Facebook page, alerting motorists that state troopers will be pulling over vehicles at this undisclosed location and time  “looking for signs of ...

'Trying' explores age, youth and points of history in poignant production

‘Trying’ explores youth, age and points of history in poignant production

By Liz Keill

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – The George Street Playhouse presents an engrossing, two-character play based on the real life of Francis Biddle, former Attorney General.

Biddle, a Harvard educated lawyer, served under Franklin Roosevelt and later Harry Truman during the Nuremberg Tribunal. His ...