DOT: Route 1 Jughandle Pilot Will Continue

DOT Spokesman says issues are being addressed, but the problems aren't serious enough to end the pilot program.

Despite Assemblyman Reed Gusciora’s call to end the Route 1 jughandle closure pilot program, a NJ DOT spokesman said there are no plans to do so.

In a letter sent to DOT Commissioner James Simpson, Gusciora said the 12-week pilot program to close the jughandles at the intersections of Route 1 and Washington Road, and Route 1 and Harrison Street, has led to more illegal U-Turns and K-Turns in West Windsor’s Penns Neck neighborhood and lower sales at the Getty and Sunoco gas stations.

“I understand DOT’s efforts to improve traffic, but it should not be at the expense of local residents,” said Gusciora, who represents West Windsor in District 15.  

DOT Spokesman Joe Dee said the department appreciates Gusciora’s input, but the jughandle pilot program will continue.

“We have not seen anything that would stop this pilot program in its tracks,” Dee said. “We promised if there were unintended consequences so severe that it needed to be stopped we would, but we’re not seeing that. We need to give people more time to adjust their routes.”

State officials are trying to address the problems in Penns Neck. Representatives have met with residents and officials and installed more signs along Route 1 and stationed state police in the area.

“Clearly, this is a problem area for these residents and we are very concerned about it,” Dee said. “We're doing everything we can to get motorists to follow the posted routes. We’re adding signs to guide people through Washington Road so they understand the way to do it is to go up to Scudders Mill Road and turn around.”

State police recently began issuing warnings to drivers who don’t obey traffic rules and will soon begin write citations, Dee said. 

Closing the jughandles was done to improve travel times along Route 1 and that has been working, Dee said. In addition, traffic along Route 1 north no longer loses a lane during rush hour traffic due to drivers queuing up to turn left at Washington Road and Harrison Street. Dee said traffic signal along Route 1 has been extended and fears that Route 1 south would become too congested north of Harrison Street has proved unfounded.

Dee encourages drivers to experiment to find the best commuter routes. For example, if Alexander Road into Princeton seems too congested, drivers can turn north on Route 1, turn around at Scudder’s Mill and then take Washington or Harrison into Princeton.

“Where we’ve done this elsewhere in the state, this is a way to solve congestion and safety on our highways and it works,” Dee said. “But it does take time for people to learn new routes." 

DOT officials want your feedback about the jughandle closures. Here's how you can contact state officials:

  • Submit your feedback online
  • Write to: Commissioner James Simpson, New Jersey Department of Transportation, David J. Goldberg Transportation Complex, 1035 Parkway Avenue, Trenton, NJ 08625
  • Call the commissioner's office at 609.530.3536

Princeton officials also want to hear about your experience with the jughandle closures. Click here to submit your feedback online. 


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Jasha M. Levi September 24, 2012 at 05:24 PM
In trying to move state traffic, and affecting intrastate commerce, DOT is creating chaos in local traffic, transforming many streets into cul-de-sac's, and adversely affecting local economies. One is for a possible common good, the other for a certain local detriment. A traffic moving agency should not have such power where its decisions affect societal needs.


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