The improvement project on Hamburg Turnpike is proceeding on schedule, county officials say, but local communters continue to be affected by delays on both Hamburg Turnpike and nearby roadways.
"The project is proceeding on schedule and there have not been any unforeseen problems," said Steve Edmond, Passaic County Engineer.
Construction equipment continues to line the heavily-traveled roadway, causing drivers to slow down and remain cautious. Parts of lanes have been closed as work is done.
The county wants to improve traffic flow on Hamburg by eliminating left-hand turns and forcing people to use the jug handles. Often, commuters effectively shut down one lane of the road when trying to make a left on the roadway, causing backups and delays.
The $9.4 million project began in July. It is expected to take approximately 20 months to complete. The major work of the project involves installing jug handles and new conrete mediums on Hamburg.
One ramp will be constructed between the Chase Bank building and the former Casey O’Toole’s site. The move will allow westbound traffic to turn left onto Valley Road.
Another ramp will be installed between the Valley National Bank and Caldwell Banker parking lot and the Ramapo Shopping Center to allow eastbound traffic to turn left onto Valley Road. That ramp cuts right through part of the center's parking lot.
A center median barrier will be placed on Hamburg Turnpike for the entire length of the roadway except where the road intersects with Valley Road and Hinchman Avenue.
Similar improvements were already made on the roadway near St. Joseph Wayne Hospital.
To add to the confusion, Valley Road from Ratzer Road to to Hamburg Turnpike was down to one lane Monday as the county was performing improvement work on part of the roadway.
"I get that all this work is going to help us in the long-run, but it's still not fun to deal with now," said Grace Cohen as she sat in traffic at a red light Monday afternoon. "I can't wait until it's finished. At least they're finally doing something to help us out."