CRANFORD – The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholder has approved a project to improve three intersections and a busy, quarter-mile section of Centennial Avenue this year, to ease congestion and make a safer turning area for parents dropping off their children at a school.
“This project was a long time coming, in part because it is so complicated,” said Freeholder Bette Jane Kowalski. “It required a great deal of cooperation between the Cranford Board of Education, the Township, the county and utilities. But in the end we will make this busy intersection safer.”
The County will widen Centennial Avenue from the Lehigh Valley Railroad Trestle to Wall Street, a 1,100 foot stretch, by up to 10 feet. This will allow for a left turn-only lane for Hillside Avenue in the northbound lane and a new left turn-only lane for Myrtle Avenue on the southbound side.
A new traffic signal will go up at the T-intersection of Hillside and Centennial Avenues and the county will replace the traffic light at Myrtle Avenue. The lights will be timed together to improve the flow of traffic there. The traffic light at Wall Street and Centennial Avenue will also be replaced.
Sidewalks and curbing would be rebuilt along the school’s side of the property. All of the land used for the project will come from the Board of Education’s property on the western side of Centennial Avenue.
“Making a left turn onto Centennial Avenue during rush hour is no picnic,” said Mayor Tom Hannen. “Parents take their chances or depend on the courtesy of other drivers to get onto Centennial Avenue. Hundreds of children walk to school or are dropped off here, so this was really a public safety issue for us. We’re glad the county was able to move this project forward.”
This summer, Union County will also be resurfacing a 1.17 mile section of Centennial Avenue from North Avenue to Raritan Avenue, part of the county’s annual resurfacing program.
The new traffic lights will utilize LED lighting, which is brighter and 90% more efficient than old incandescent bulbs. This allows them to be operated by batteries (located in the base of the post) in a power loss. Cameras mounted above the lights measure traffic flow and help set the timing.
Construction will cost $821,705 and Fai-Gon Electric of Piscataway was awarded the contract for the project. Construction is expected to begin in late summer after school has let out. This project is funded by state highway grants.
# # #
Discussing Centennial Avenue intersection improvements are (from left): Dr. Gail Carrick, Cranford Superintendent of Schools; Freeholder Bette Jane Kowalski; Cranford Commissioner Kevin Campbell, the Township’s Public Safety Commissioner; and Mayor Tom Hannen (photo by James Lowney)