BERKELEY – The intersection of Frederick Drive and Route 9 – which has had three fatalities – will be getting a traffic signal, officials said.
Berkeley officials have been calling for a traffic signal at that intersection for years. However, since Route 9 is a state highway, they had to wait for the state Department of Transportation to approve it.
Mayor Carmen Amato said that every two weeks or so, he would reach out to the state to remind them of the request in order to get a light installed before there was another fatality. The state performed a seven-month study on the intersection.
Berkeley police said there have been three fatalities at that intersection since 1999. A resolution in December of 2015 asking for the traffic light stated that there had been at least 18 motor vehicle accidents, three of which involved pedestrians.
The traffic signal will be one in which a pedestrian can push a button to turn opposing lights red so they can cross. This had been the kind of signal the township officials had asked for.
Berkeley had also asked for additional lighting at the intersection, to help with pedestrian crossings, and a “no left turn” sign to keep people coming out of Frederick from making a left onto Route 9 across oncoming traffic. Both of those requests will be honored as well, Amato said.
The township will incur 25 percent of the cost of installing the light, Amato said. Although the exact amount is not known, the township has had money set aside for this project to be ready to go as soon as the state gave its approval. The estimated amount for Berkeley’s share in 2015 was about $40,000.
The timeline for the project is unknown at this time. The DOT did not answer requests for information on a timeline as of deadline.
A spokesman for the DOT said in 2015 that the state has done work at that intersection in the past and would continue to do so. For example, in 2009, the DOT installed high visibility crosswalks, ramps for people with disabilities, and additional signage.
At one point in the discussion, the project became halted when there was an issue with the Transportation Trust Fund. Gov. Chris Christie halted many “non-essential” projects until the Transportation Trust Fund could be funded. He and Senate lawmakers were at odds on how to do this.