WEST CALDWELL, NJ — In cooperation with the Township of West Caldwell and the Caldwell-West Caldwell school district to modernize the intersection of Central Avenue and Washington Avenue/Stonybrook Road, the county has installed a traffic signal in order to enhance pedestrian access and traffic safety in the corridor leading to Washington Elementary School.
Several improvements were made to the intersection, including the unique addition of an exclusive pedestrian phase, meaning that when the pedestrian crosswalk button is pressed, traffic in all directions will receive a red light.
In addition to the new traffic signal—equipped with LED lights that shine brighter, are easier to see and are more energy efficient—the intersection was also repaved; roadway striping and signage were added; and any curbs and sidewalks that were in poor condition were repaired.
Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo joined with West Caldwell Mayor Joseph Tempesta, council members Joseph Cecere, Michael Crudele, Stanley Hladik and Stephen Wolsky, Superintendent of Schools Dr. James Heinegg, Caldwell-West Caldwell Board of Education member Julianne Grosso, Washington Elementary School Principal Judi Jacobs and others on Wednesday afternoon for a ceremonial ribbon cutting to mark the project’s completion.
"We heard a great deal of concerns about the safety of this intersection, and a traffic signal was the only solution to keep our children safe," said Tempesta. “This is a good example of bipartisan government working together.”
DiVincenzo added that making sure the county’s roadways “are safe and meet current usage demands by pedestrians and motorists” is among his administration’s highest priorities. He stated that the installation of the traffic signal not only enhances safety for students and their parents going to Washington Elementary School, but will also improve the flow of traffic along Central Avenue.
The Caldwell-West Caldwell superintendent thanked both the township and the county for collaborating on these improvements, stating that "nothing is more important than protecting the safety of our students.”
Heinegg noted that the district is thrilled to see the completed project after hearing from many parents about the need for upgrades, and Jacobs reiterated that the installation of the traffic light “will make parents and children feel safer.”
"This is a perfect example of how public safety needs are met with proactive government response," said Essex County Clerk Christopher Durkin, who resides near the intersection. “The new signals fill a real need in the community.”
Essex County Freeholder Len Luciano, who is also a resident of West Caldwell, agreed, stating that Central Avenue is a known street for speeding.
Essex County and West Caldwell each provided half of the funding for this project. According to the county, Lublanecki Engineering from Long Valley received a $17,495 professional services contract to design the improvements to the intersection. Foggia Trinity Electric from Scotch Plains received a publicly bid contract for $319,640 to perform the construction work.
Additionally, the Essex County Department of Public Works—whose budget allowed for the project to move forward—monitored the project to ensure delays were avoided.
Pictured above from left to right are:
- West Caldwell Council President Joseph Cecere;
- West Caldwell Councilman Stephen Wolsky;
- West Caldwell Councilman Michael Crudele;
- Caldwell-West Caldwell Board of Education member Julianne Grosso;
- Caldwell-West Caldwell Superintendent of Schools Dr. James Heinegg;
- Washington School Principal Judi Jacobs;
- Councilman Stanley Hladik;
- West Caldwell Mayor Joseph Tempesta;
- Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr.
- Essex County Clerk Christopher Durkin;
- Essex County Freeholder Len Luciano; and
- Essex County Public Works Director/County Engineer Sanjeev Varghese.