21 April 2009

What's One-Sixth of 206? Less Than You Think

In a recent news story, Somerset County Freeholder Peter Palmer discussed the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority's proposed spending plan for fiscal year 2010 which includes $19 million for a portion of the Route 206 bypass project. This money would be used for the stretch of highway running from Amwell Road to Hillsborough Road - or, in other words, just one-sixth of the project.

Mr. Palmer pointed out that the first third of the bypass - from the Somerville Circle to Brown Avenue was already complete, leaving just two-thirds remaining. I have to disagree. While the rebuilding of that part of Route 206 was much needed and is well appreciated, it does not BYPASS anything, hence, it is not part of the bypass.

Mr. Palmer also acknowledges that funding has yet to be found for what I believe to be the most important part of the project - the section from Brown Avenue to Old Somerville Road. This segment of the Route 206 reconstruction - also not really part of the "bypass" - is estimated to cost upwards of $43 million. I believe this is the most worthy part of the project still to be built - an improved highway that will stand on its own whether or not the real bypass is ever built. Without it, the bypass essentially becomes, at worst, another "road to nowhere", or, at best, a faster path to the traffic jam!

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