Drivers who use Route 1 in Central New Jersey are used to sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic during the morning and evening rush hours, but things have improved somewhat

At the end of June, the state Department of Transportation launched a “congestion relief project” in which the shoulder of the roadway between Independence Way and Raymond Road in South Brunswick was opened to traffic from 6 to 9 a.m. and 4 to 7 p.m.

Now comes word the project is being expanded, so drivers heading south on Route 1 starting at Promenade Boulevard in South Brunswick will be able to drive on the shoulder during rush hour as well.

“That allows traffic to flow more smoothly, keeps travel times moving and also helps to prevent congestion and therefore improves safety,” said Steve Schapiro, director of communications and a spokesman for the New Jersey Department of Transportation.

He said this expansion is only taking place heading south because the northbound lanes actually open up to three lanes just past Raymond Road.

Schapiro said to make sure there aren’t any problems with cars stopping on the shoulder, “we’ve been working very closely with the South Brunswick police department. They do have personnel that are watching the roadway. We also have traffic cameras that can watch.”

He said if someone does break down on the shoulder, personnel will respond and get it cleared as quickly as possible.

Schapiro said so far, everyone seems pleased with how things are working, especially because “there’s less congestion and fewer accidents, so the roadway is safer”.

He said the pilot program is designed to last for six months and could be continued past that point.

He also pointed out variable message signs are being used to give drivers information in the affected area about traffic pattern changes that are associated with the project.

You can contact reporter David Matthau at

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