WEST ORANGE, NJ — Upgrades to the intersection at Pleasant Valley Way and Alisa Drive in West Orange, including a new traffic signal, are underway to enhance pedestrian and motor vehicle safety near high school and make it easier for student drivers to enter and exit the student parking lot located on Alisa Drive.

Construction began on Monday and will be completed before school begins in September.

In addition to new traffic signal equipment, which includes LED lights that will shine brighter, are easier to see and are more energy efficient, the upgrades will also include pedestrian signals with countdown timers. Roadway striping and signage will be also added to the intersection and curbs, sidewalks and pavement that are disturbed during construction will be replaced. GPS clocks will be installed to ensure that traffic signal coordination with other intersections along Pleasant Valley Way is maintained.

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"This project is about practical government and whenever we have needed Essex County's assistance, the Essex County executive steps up,” Mayor Robert Parisi said at a groundbreaking event at the intersection on Thursday. “This is an example of what we can accomplish when we all work together.”

Councilman Jerry Guarino added that traffic safety is a major concern, and that he hopes this intersection becomes a model for other areas in the township.

"Traffic signals are not cheap,” said Essex County Freeholder Leonard Luciano. “This was a wonderful project in which the county, Township of West Orange and our school board worked together to enhance safety.”

Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, Jr. said that the county is always ready to team up with its municipalities and school districts to implement traffic safety improvements. He said that Pleasant Valley Way is “a major artery through West Orange,” and is enthusiastic about making entrance and exit at Alisa Drive easier and safer for students.

West Orange Board of Education member Irv Schwarzbaum added that the project is “an example of three government agencies coming together to make the intersection safer for pedestrians and motorists coming to the high school and Degnan Park,” and member Ken Alpert said it is a positive change that is long overdue.

"As board members, we are advocates for the safety of our students,” said board member Sandra Mordecai. “We thank Essex County and the Township for helping us improve the traffic situation here.”

Maser Consulting from Red Bank designed the intersection improvements under an existing contract. Foggia Trinity Electric from Scotch Plains was awarded a publicly bid contract of $319,805 to perform the construction work.

The Essex County Department of Public Works will monitor the project to ensure delays are avoided. The county, the municipality and the board of education are each paying one-third of the cost of the improvements.

Pictured above, DiVincenzo (center) looks over plans for the traffic signal with (from left) former school board member Laura Lab, Mordecai, Lynn LaMunyon from Masur Consulting, Luciano, Mayor Parisi, Alpert, Schwarzbaum and Guarino.

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