09 November 2020

The Amwell Road Bypass

For Hillsborough natives who return for a visit after moving away in the 1980s, it is utterly confounding - yet many who moved to the township during the mid-1990s housing boom do not even know it exists! The Amwell Road Bypass - officially known as the Amwell Road Realignment - was officially opened thirty years ago this month. 

28 November 1990 Courier News

The official reason for the construction of the 1.7-mile bypass between Pleasant View and East Mountain Roads was that it would allow motorists to avoid the dangerous intersection of Amwell and South Branch Roads - at the site of the Corner Store - although no accident statistics were ever provided.

19 February 1990 Courier News

The realignment of Amwell Road had been on the drawing board at Somerset County from at least the 1970s but began to pick up speed with the construction of four residential developments in the area later in the decade. A common stipulation in developers' agreements was that they include the bypass in their plans and contribute towards its cost. Because of that, the bypass was built in fits and starts - by the mid-1980s the right of way was basically cleared, and some roadbed laid down between Pleasant View Road and Ernest Drive.

21 February 1990 Courier News

Ironically the thing that helped get the project back on the front burner in the 1970s - the developments - is the thing that threatened to derail it in 1990. As homeowners in the new developments realized that the right-of-way in their backyards was not for a country lane but rather for a four-lane 45mph county highway, they protested. In their view, the fact that the bypass literally cut some developments in two outweighed any benefit for motorists. They quickly formed a group called Citizens Against Amwell Road Realignment and proposed as an alternative much less costly improvements to the old Amwell Road and the South Branch Road intersection.

28 November 1990 Courier News

Opponents were fighting an uphill battle as much of the work on the $2.2 million road had already been completed. Besides, residents in favor of the plan blamed the newcomers for contributing to the traffic woes which necessitated the bypass in the first place! The Amwell Road Bypass officially opened on November 27, 1990.

1 comment:

  1. I left in 1969. Two or three years ago I tried to find the house that I grew up in, on Amwell Road, and couldn't find it. Theresa Fedorczyk had to explain how our houses were still there but the road wasn't. 😯