Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Stop and Go in Little Ferry

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Stop and Go in Little Ferry

Article excerpt

LITTLE FERRY -- Traffic improvements in Little Ferry are starting to jell, with the conversion of a traffic circle at Route 46 and Bergen Turnpike to a conventional intersection. However that work will also bring lengthy disruptions on a decrepit Route 46 bridge that is being rebuilt.

The two traffic signals on the outsides of the circle were shut off on Friday night, replaced by a traditional signal hanging over the middle of the intersection. That step closed the traffic circle and opened the converted conventional intersection. By changing the traffic patterns, state transportation officials hope to reduce confusion and the accidents it causes. There were more than 250 crashes at the circle during a recent three-year period, New Jersey Department of Transportation representatives said at a February public information session at which the project's details were discussed.

The change will allow better traffic flow, DOT spokesman Steve Schapiro said, adding that the traffic volume had outgrown the circle.

Replacing Little Ferry Circle with a signal-controlled intersection is part of a $33.8 million project that will also repair the Route 46 bridge over the Hackensack River, which is just east of the revamped intersection. The project also includes installing a new drainage system and stormwater pumping station to reduce flooding in the area.

The project has been in the works since the late '90s.

"It's been a while," Schapiro said, adding that it was authorized once funding was allocated for it.

All but about $100,000 comes from the federal highway trust fund and the rest from the state transportation department.

Drainage and utility work at the traffic circle began in March and bridge construction started last month. The project is expected to be completed by spring 2016.

The 80-year-old bridge, which also goes over two railroad lines, is considered structurally deficient and doesn't meet current design standards.

The work includes replacing the bridge's deck, sidewalks and concrete balustrade railing, as well as upgrading the bridge parapets and adding a steel guide rail to protect pedestrians. The metal deck will be replaced with concrete, and it will no longer be used as a drawbridge. …

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