Alexander Road in Princeton will be closed for approximately six months as the town works to renovate it. Mercer County plans to build two new bridges and a culvert to replace and improve current traffic flows.
The closure is scheduled to begin Nov. 6 and end by April 20, 2020.
According to Planet Princeton, the new project will receive $250,000 from the New Jersey Department of Transportation and contains plans to build new, five-foot shoulders with ultra-wide lanes. These changes are expected to result in the road better handling the through-traffic of Princeton’s Tiger Transit bus line.
Mayor Liz Lempert voiced concern over the closure’s impact on traffic.
“We understand the need for the two bridges to be replaced, but are obviously concerned about traffic impacts, especially during rush hour,” Lempert said.
Lempert explained that the town is working with the University, NJ Department of Transportation, and New Jersey Transit to lessen traffic disruptions.
Director of Community and Regional Affairs Kristin Appelget expressed that the closure, while inconvenient for many on campus, would ultimately lead to far better infrastructure.
“We understand that the upcoming closure of the Alexander Street bridges will be an inconvenience for the campus community, just as it will be for our neighbors in the region,“ Appelget wrote in an email to the Daily Princetonian. “However, we appreciate that the bridge replacement project will improve this crucial transportation infrastructure.”
Appelget emphasized the importance of communication with those right outside the Orange Bubble.
“To support our community and collaborate with all those affected, we have joined representatives from local government and area businesses to meet with NJDOT and Mercer County as they have planned for the project to ensure that information about the closure is shared broadly,” Appelget wrote in an email to the ‘Prince.’ “We expect that these robust lines of communication will remain open as the closure is implemented. Updates about the closure will be shared with the campus community through University communication channels starting later this fall.”
Appelget wrote that those on campus may seek “alternate routes to and from campus,” and added that the “Dinky service will continue during the closure, and this will be a viable alternate route for some to consider.”
According to Lempert, this work will include urging local employers to consider instituting flex time programs in order to decrease rush hour issues as well as prompting “discussions with NJ Transit to ensure reliable operation of the Dinky and other ways to encourage ridership.”
“The road closure comes at a difficult time for our local retailers — right at the start of the holiday shopping season,” Lempert said. “We’ve been working closely with the Princeton Merchants Association on ways to get the word out during the road closure that Princeton is still open for business — and also on plans for events and other activities to draw shoppers and diners into town.”