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NJ Lawmaker Aims To Ban Future Jughandles [POLL/AUDIO]

A Garden State lawmaker wants to ban construction of jughandles in the future.

Jughandle from Hooper Avenue to Fischer Avenue in Toms River
Jughandle from Hooper Avenue to Fischer Avenue in Toms River (YouTube)

State Senator James Holzapfel says jughandles became popular because they supposedly kept the flow of traffic moving on highways when drivers wanted to make a left. But as congestion has become worse, just the opposite has proved to be true.

“As we all know,” he says, “you come to an intersection, and often times, if it’s a heavily traveled intersection, the jughandle is full. As a result, the cars waiting to get into the jughandle will delay the vehicles behind them, and or block the intersection on occasions resulting in gridlock so the vehicles can’t get through – can’t get out of the intersection so to speak.”

Holzapfel adds, “If you talk to any truck driver or bus driver in state or out of state, they’re a nightmare for them because, a lot of times, the design is such – it’s very difficult for them -with the larger trucks today – to get through them without having problems of getting back out into the traffic. We’re spending a lot of money for something that really isn’t working that well.”

So what should replace the jughandles?

He says if you’re talking about a three lane highway, “When you get to the intersection, you would have two additional lanes on the inside with left turn signals and people will turn when signals change and traffic flows…Some people argue we don’t have enough space in Jersey to create extra turning lanes at intersections but if we don’t have enough land, we shouldn’t be buying more land to put in a jughandle.”

He points out in other states people have turning lanes and they can also make a u-turn, but not for Jersey.

“You have to go into a jughandle- now you have to try and get over to the left turn lane. So to me, it’s just that simple- I don’t think you have to be an engineer to figure that out…I think they’re long overdue to be removed, because traffic control devices today are so much more sophisticated than just red, yellow and green and successful. All you’ve got to do is drive – it’s almost like you want to say to people have you ever been anywhere else…I don’t think we’ve got the monopoly on smart. It works in other jurisdictions so why shouldn’t it work here.”

Holzapfel also says, “The jughandle itself is very small – it might hold only a dozen cars and then we have the backup in the travel portion of the highway…Do we know of any states that are saying, no no, we want to do jughandles? I don’t think so.”

He also says he’s been trying to have his bill released by Committee for 10 years, and he’s thankful that finally the measure will be considered in the full State Senate after clearing the Senate Transportation Committee without recommendation. That means more work on the measure will take place before it’s voted on.

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