UNION, NJ — Construction on westbound side of U.S. Route 22 between Vauxhall Road to the west of Bloy Street is set to begin by the end of the month and will take about a year to complete, according to state Department of Transportation officials. Both lanes will be open during construction during daytime hours from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., officials said, but shoulder work will be conducted during the day.
The NJDOT plans to construct acceleration and deceleration lanes at the Sayre Road intersection as well as an auxiliary lane stretching from Gary Road to the Vauxhall l Road exit ramp as part of the project. A detour lasting for several nights will be required for the ramps at Vauxhall Road to allow for underground utility and resurfacing work, officials said, and the NJDOT will be relocating an underground gas main with the project. This will be done prior to the road widening, officials said.
NJDOT officials held an information session on July 2 in the township’s Municipal Building that was lightly attended by residents and business owners. All businesses along this stretch of highway were notified of the meeting, officials said.
According to a flier providing information about the project, the current Vauxhall Road interchange configuration along Route 22 “lacks acceleration, deceleration and auxiliary lanes necessary to reduce conflicts between through traffic and vehicles exiting and entering the numerous commercial establishments.”
This project also focuses on pedestrian safety, with a new sidewalk being installed along the westbound side of Route 22 between Vauxhall Road and Sayre Road, continuing around the vicinity of Aarti’s World Discount Liquors for pedestrians to access Vauxhall Road.
In addition, the pedestrian stairway that connects Route 22 and Vauxhall Road on the northwest side of the overpass will be repaired.
“When we did our analysis of the area, we noticed that many people utilized the stairs and walk along that part of the highway,” Hardev Dave, an NJDOT project manager, told LocalSource at the information session.
“There used to be a sidewalk there, but it has since been covered with dirt but we found people still using it,” he added.
Dave told LocalSource that the stretch of Route 22 receiving the upgrades has accident rates higher than the statewide average. The westbound accidents are caused by “conflicting traffic movements that exist along Route 22 westbound from Gary Road intersection to west of the Sayre Road intersection,” according to the flier.
Several businesses along the route will have their driveways replaced, according to the plans, including Aarti’s liquors, the Exxon gas station and Lumber Liquidators.
The project also includes plans to improve the drainage system by adding inlets along the stretch of highway to “address stormwater spread at low points and along the widened pavement.”
After the project is complete, local residents can expect additional repairs and upgrades in the future, with work at Bloy Street to potentially begin in the fall and the Route 22, Route 82 and Garden State Parkway Interchange Improvement Project slated to begin in 2020. The project on Route 82 — or Morris Avenue — will include several changes, including the expansion of a right-of-way passage along the westbound side of Route 22.