SOUTH BRUNSWICK — New Jerseyans who commute through this Middlesex County township may feel less of an urge to slam on their horns or flip someone the bird.

Delay on Route 1 in South Brunswick
Delay on Route 1 in South Brunswick (NJ DOT)

Monday at 6 a.m. marks the scheduled launch of a "Hard Shoulder Running" pilot project along a 1.9-mile stretch of Route 1 northbound and southbound. Where three lanes merged to two, drivers will be allowed to use the shoulder as a travel lane during peak commuting times.

"Our goal is hopefully to ease the congestion and have traffic flow more smoothly through there, as well as improve safety with more free-flowing traffic," state Department of Transportation spokesman Steve Schapiro told New Jersey 101.5.

The shoulders between Independence Way and Raymond Road will be open to vehicles, except for trucks, as a travel lane from 6 to 9 a.m. and from 4 to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, for possibly the next six months.

The anticipated duration of the pilot project is half a year, but DOT says that timing could be adjusted "depending on the operational and safety data gathered." The project will be monitored by DOT and South Brunswick officials via newly-installed closed-circuit TV cameras along the project corridor.

If successful, the switch could become a permanent improvement.

Hard shoulder running is widely used in Europe, but is uncommon in the United States. DOT has seen success using the tactic on Route 29 approaching the Route 129 interchange in Trenton.

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