HAZLET –Citing residents’ concern about unsafe conditions at the Cresci Boulevard intersection at Bethany Road, Hazlet Township Mayor Scott Aagre last week asked the county to conduct a traffic study to determine options.
At its previous workshop meeting on Oct. 15, the Township Committee discussed information it requested from the police department citing 33 accidents in the area since 2009 – but not necessarily at that precise intersection.
“They are interested in doing a traffic study to determine if anything, can be done,” Aagre said. Solutions could include a traffic light, which the group thought unlikely, to flashing lights at nearby St. Benedict’s to caution drivers, or even a “no left turn” for motorists exiting Raritan Valley at the intersection.
Attempting to exit Raritan Valley onto Bethany can feel dicey because the intersection is situated on a bend and on a downward grade. Visibility of oncoming traffic traveling eastbound is difficult, especially if the traffic is moving fast. It requires good timing skills and some nerve. Some residents have resorted to avoiding the intersection altogether and use less convenient exits through the development for safety.
Township Committeewoman Tara Clark was interested to know if traffic has increased on Bethany Road, making that exit more difficult than before.
In the letter dated November 7 and addressed to Freeholder Susan M. Kiley, Aagre said that because Bethany Road is on the border between Hazlet and Holmdel Township, any changes to traffic flow require approval by both municipalities and the NJ Dept. of Transportation.
“In the past, we have had our police department provide accident statistics and based on these, did not warrant traffic signals or stop signs on Bethany Road, since Bethany Road is also a designated through street which prohibits the placement of stop signs on this roadway,” Aagre wrote.
In 2014, former Police Chief Jim Broderick reported to the Township Committee that accident statistics were low at the intersection. “Only one minor accident has occurred there this year,” said Broderick in a letter. In another memo, he said Holmdel Police had not reported accidents at Bethany Road for several years. Though Hazlet had not had a reported accident at the intersection since 2006, there have been several on the curve near St. Benedict’s, but none at Bethany and Cresci, Broderick said.
Kiley is a former mayor of Hazlet and is a longtime township resident. Aagre said the letter was expected to be forwarded from the county freeholder board to the attention of County Engineer Joe Ettore.