WARREN COUNTY, NJ – Warren County is seeking to keep large trucks off parts of its county road system, as the Board of County Commissioners passed a resolution requesting the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) modify the New Jersey Access Network.
The decision to seek removal of more than 45 miles of county roadway as available travel routes for double-trailer truck combinations and trucks 102 inches wide and larger was made after considering traffic volume, accident records, geometric characteristics, height restrictions, and the impacts on schools, recreational areas, historic sites, and the environment.
“We as a board are looking at all our options in regards to safety and we hope we will have the support of our municipalities and the State to get these changes made,” Commissioner Director Lori Ciesla said. “As we grapple with increased truck traffic, we are continuing to look at ways we can protect drivers on our roads. This resolution is a much needed action to keep our roads safe for all.”
Warren County officials carefully reviewed the routes within the county designated as part of the New Jersey Access Network and determined that certain “500 series” roadways were not suitable for double-trailer truck combinations, 102-inch-wide trucks, and other oversized trucks. Trucks wider than 96 inches already are prohibited from using the county’s 600 series roads unless otherwise permitted, but the 102-inch trucks are currently allowed on the 500 series county routes.
Warren County officials carefully reviewed the routes within the county designated as part of the New Jersey Access Network and determined that certain “500 series” roadways were not suitable for double-trailer truck combinations, 102-inch-wide standard trucks, and other oversized trucks. The standard trailer is 96 inches wide, and trucks wider than 96 inches are already prohibited from using the county’s 600 series roads unless otherwise permitted, but the 102-inch standard trucks are currently allowed on the 500 series county routes.
The Commissioners want the State to prohibit those larger tractor trailers and double-tandem trucks from using all of County Route 519, from the Sussex County border in the north to the Hunterdon County line in the south, a total of about 33 miles. The primary north-south road through the county, Route 519 runs through eight municipalities: Pohatcong, Alpha, Greenwich, Lopatcong, Harmony, White, Hope, and Frelinghuysen.
The resolution also seeks to block those trucks from County Route 517 from the intersection with Route 46 in Hackettstown north to the boundary with Sussex County in Allamuchy, about seven miles, and County Route 521 from the intersection with County Route 519 in Hope Township north to the intersection of Route 94 in Blairstown Township, about six miles. The section of County Route 521 from Route 94 in Blairstown to US 206 in Frankford Township, Sussex County already prohibits the larger trucks.
Warren County has received significant public comment regarding large truck traffic on these roadways. Numerous fatal accidents involving trucks have occurred and any increases in truck traffic or the facilitation of these trucks would continue to exacerbate an already unsafe condition. In addition, there are numerous suitable alternative routes available for large truck traffic, such as the National Network Routes and State Highway system routes.
Through this resolution, the County Commissioners are seeking to improve the safety and well-being of their residents and preserve the natural beauty and lifestyle of Warren County. Warren County will also be making significant improvements on these roadways to include signage and striping to better denote their incompatibility with these oversized trucks.
“Our plan is consistent with neighboring counties, pushing 102 size trucks to state and federal roadways,” Commissioner James R. Kern III said. “For the past four years we have been making local leaders aware of the impacts of their zoning of industrial development. While many our calls have fallen on deaf ears, our county staff has been working diligently to address the current and future problems presented by increased truck traffic.”
“Tonight is the first major step in controlling truck movement in Warren County and I’m thankful for the continued partnership with the police, who are committed to enforcing these routes,” Kern said.
“The County is moving forward on a truck restriction approach that benefits roadways throughout the entire county,” Commissioner Jason J. Sarnoski said. “This is just one step of many traffic easing measures that we have planned for the coming months, and we are looking forward to the continued cooperation with the DOT and other agencies to keep Warren County’s roads safe.”
Ciesla concluded by saying, “I want to thank both Commissioners Kern and Sarnoski for meeting with law enforcement, local officials, and the NJDOT to try and find solutions to our traffic concerns.”