Frequently Asked Questions
This page seeks to answer some of the questions many stakeholders have about this study.
Q. The project seemed to be on hold for a while. What happened?
A. When the project began, the federal project delivery process had separate steps for Concept Development and Feasibility Assessment. For ease of reference, we'll call this the 'old process.' While the project team was working on Concept Development under the 'old process,' the federal project delivery process was changed to merge Feasibility Assessment into Concept Development, also known as Concept Development. For ease of reference, we'll call this the 'new process.' This required changes to the contract and scopes of work for both Somerset County and its consultants, which took time to negotiate, approve and finalize. All of the contract issues have been resolved and the Concept Development phase of work (under the new process) is scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2014.
Q. Why are you having another public meeting if a preferred alternative still hasn't been selected?
A. Due to the amount of time the project was dormant due to contract revisions, the project team felt it apropriate to hold another public information center to remind everyone of the project, where we are, and what still needs to be accomplished.
Q. There are three Alternatives plus the ramp from 202/206 northbound to 287 southbound. Is this part of each of the three alternatives or a separate project?
A. The ramp from 202/206 to 287 is currently part of each of the three Alternatives. As part of the selection of the Initially Preferred Alternative, a decision will be made to either keep the 202/206 to 287 ramp as part of the Alternative or split it out as an independent project.
Q. Who is in charge of the study?
A. Somerset County is managing the project in cooperation with the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT).
Q. Why is this study being done?
A. The purpose of the study is to identify safety and operational deficiencies in the corridor and come up with preferred solutions to fix these problems.
Q. What is the cost of this study? Who is paying for it?
A. The cost of this study is approximately $1 Million. Funds for this study are being provided by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) through the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT).
Q. I have a business on Route 22. How is my business going to be affected?
A. At this stage it is too early to speculate what businesses may be affected and how. This study will look at addressing driveway access issues to businesses and properties along the study corridor. The project team will work with business owners to come up with a solution that works for everyone.
Q. Will the project recommend the access to the center median be removed and the businesses and residences in the median be relocated?
A. The purpose of the study is to determine the best solution to meet the goals and objectives of the project. It is too early to say what impact this may have on businesses and residences located in the median.
Q. What is being done to improve conditions now?
A. Some initial quick fix improvements to the corridor have been made in the past two years, and additional 'short term' improvements are currently under construction. The 'short term' improvements include the closure of the median u-turns near the Midas and Bridgewater Diners and interchange improvements at Grove Street and Foothill Road to accommodate the traffic from the U-turns.
Q. How does this Study fit in with the Short Term Improvements currently underway?
A. This study will build upon the work that is being done as a part of the short term improvements. While the short term improvements will help to reduce crashes in some sections of the corridor, they will not correct everything. A long term solution is also needed.
Q. What is the anticipated outcome of this Study?
A. The study will identify an Initially Preferred Alternative (IPA) to be advanced through the environmental process and into preliminary and final design.
Q. What is an IPA?
A. An IPA stands for Initially Preferred Alternative. The IPA is the package of proposed improvements that meets the purpose and need set forth for the project and reflects community consensus about what action will best meet the project goals and objectives. The IPA may advance into the preliminary and final design and ultimately be constructed.
Q. What is the timeline for the Concept Development phase?
A. We expect to complete the Concept Development phase in the summer of 2014.
Q. Will there be an opportunity to voice my opinion?
A. Yes. You may ask questions or provide comments directly to the County Project Manager in writing or via e-mail. In addition, there will be four public meetings during the study period. Public meetings will be announced in the media, through e-mail notifications and on this website. Provide us with your e-mail address to receive study updates and meeting announcements.
Q. There's obviously a problem out there, why doesn't the state just go and fix it? Why do we need to spend $1,000,000 on a study first?
A. While many people agree there is a problem with Route 22 in the study area, there is no single simple solution. The Concept Development study is part of the required NJDOT process to determine the best solution that balances the numerous concerns of all stakeholders.
Q. What about problems with other areas of Route 22 or other transportation problems within Somerset County? Who do I contact to have those problems fixed?
A. Ultimately, congestion and safety problems with our transportation network are the responsibility of the agency who has jurisdiction over the road (state, county, or municipality). If you are not sure who your concern should go to, you can contact either your municipal engineer or the County Engineer's office to help you make sure your concerns are heard by the right people.
Q. How many lanes are being proposed for Route 22 under the various alternatives under consideration?
A. The roadway cross-section varies throughout the corridor and by alternative, but in general three travel lanes are provided in each direction, similar to current conditions. Auxiliary lanes are proposed in areas where they are needed in each direction and on both sides of the roadway to accommodate acceleration and deceleration lanes for local streets and driveways.
Q. Where is the money coming from to pay for the construction of this project? Are my property taxes going to go up from this project?
A. A funding source for the construction of the project has not been determined, nor can it be determined until an initially preferred alternative is selected. The project process is following the requirements for both state and federal funding so that as many potential funding sources as possible can be pursued.
Q. Why don't you just buy the businesses in the median of Route 22 and be done with it?
A. There is a well-defined legal procedure that must be followed before any property can be acquired as public right-of-way, including a cost-benefit analysis. In the case of the median properties, the cost-benefit analysis must compare the cost of making access to the business safe compared to the value of the business. This analysis will begin to be done as part of the current study as we look at the access to the median properties in more detail.
While the elimination of the median businesses will eliminate the need for acceleration and deceleration lanes along the inner areas, there is still a need for acceleration and deceleration lanes on the outer areas.
Q. I live downstream of Route 22 and I have flooding problems now. Is this project going to make flooding worse?
A. The drainage design for the project will not be completed until after an initially preferred alternative is selected, but regardless of the alternative, the project will be designed to comply with all appropriate storm water management regulations, including detention basins as necessary to control any storm water runoff.
Q. I heard that the median u-turns are going to be closed next year by another state project. If that is done, why do we need this project?
A. While the closure of the median u-turns is a much needed safety enhancement, the 'Short Term' Route 22 project will not solve all of the problems along the study corridor, such as the high crash rates along Route 22 eastbound between Mountain Blvd. and Gaston Avenue.
Q. Why is there a short term project and a long term project? Wouldn't it have been easier to do everything at once?
A. The Short Term Route 22 project consists of improvements that could be completed with little or no right-of-way acquisitions. Somerset County and the NJDOT recognized that improvements were needed as soon as possible and advanced the short term improvements ahead of the full corridor improvement, recognizing that the Long Term improvement project could easily take over 10 years to reach construction.
Updated February 11, 2014