Light traffic during pandemic allows more DOT daytime road work
One positive thing to come out of the COVID-19 public health emergency is the ability for the New Jersey DOT to move road work from evenings and overnights to daytime.
Gov. Phil Murphy's executive order to encourage social distancing keeps employees for non-essential workplaces working from home and has closed most retailers. That means much less traffic on the roads.
One example of a closure that under normal circumstances would have been done off hours is the widening of Route 1 in Mercer County near the Quaker Bridge Mall. The work closes the ramp from Route 1 South to Route 295 North in the middle of the day.
Department of Transportation spokesman Steve Schapiro said the decision to move projects is being done on a case-by-case basis.
The hours available for work have been expanded by allowing work to start earlier and end later.
"The work during the day can take place between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. rather than between 9 a.m and 3 p.m., which we traditionally did," Schapiro said.
Work still scheduled for the overnight is often starting earlier, according to Schapiro.
"We're hoping these changes to allow the extra hours will allow the contractors to stay on schedule and perhaps get ahead," he said.
Schapiro said no projects already underway have been interrupted by the COVID-19 public health crisis.
"The work is still needed and we have our contractors out there getting the work done," he said.
Other public agencies are also taking advantage of less travel.
During Tuesday's meeting of NJ Transit's operations and customer service committee meeting, President and CEO Kevin Corbett said that testing will be done in daylight hours that normally wouldn't be possible, according to NorthJersey.com.
Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission is closing Route 175 in Ewing during the day for work on the Scudder Falls Bridge replacement. The work was originally set for overnights, according to the DRJTBC.