Hillsborough Township residents will be pleased to learn that of the $240 million in Somerset County road and bridge projects authorized by the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority, $85 million is slated for the Route 206 bypass project. This spending covers the four year period between 2009 and 2012.
There are 20 Somerset County projects in the agency's Transportation Improvement Program - which encompasses 13 northern New Jersey counties and calls for $10 billion in total spending.
The Route 206 bypass is by far the most expensive project in the county - but I was most intrigued by the least expensive project.
$770,000 is allocated for "grade separation" of the Norfolk Southern rail crossing at 13th Avenue in Manville. This is Manville's only grade crossing on this rail line, and the only place other than Main Street for cars or pedestrians to legally cross between the northern and southern parts of the borough.
To separate the grade crossing, 13th Avenue will need to go over or under the tracks - not easy to accomplish in the middle of a residential neighborhood. Hillsborough has four grade crossings on this rail line - Beekman Lane, Auten Road, Valley Road, and Roycefield Road. It seems to me that any one of these would be easier to "separate" than 13th Avenue, and of course no grade crossing means no more train horn.
So, will Hillsborough ever get any bridges over the railroad tracks? Yes! $4 million has been allocated to replace the existing bridges at Hillsborough Road and Homestead Road over the CSX rail line.