Finish of New Jersey's U.S. 206 Bypass Delayed Until Next Spring

Tue October 20, 2020 - Northeast Edition
TAPintoSomerville



Completion of the long-awaited U.S. Highway 206/Peter J. Biondi Bypass will be delayed until spring, 2021, while the state's Department of Transportation (NJDOT) is expected to begin preliminary work on the widening of the state highway in the vicinity of Camplain Road and the nearby Norfolk Southern railroad trestle.

The latest effort began Oct. 19.

The bypass around Hillsborough Township was expected to be completed this fall, but there have been delays attributed to the weather and the COVID-19 pandemic earlier this year, according to NJDOT.

Motorists can expect even more delays as work begins at the northern end of the project, one of several phases begun nearly 10 years ago that make up the $100 million-plus plan to eliminate congestion and improve traffic flow from one end of the township to the other.

On July 18, 2013, Gov. Chris Christie signed into law a bill officially renaming the roadway to the "Peter J. Biondi Bypass," in honor of the late state Assemblyman and Hillsborough Mayor Peter J. Biondi. An official dedication and road opening occurred later that same year.

The current Biondi Bypass general contractor is Konkus Corporation, is a Bedminster, N.J.-based construction firm specializing in bridge and highway construction markets throughout the region.

Hillsborough and the highway project are nestled in north-central New Jersey, just west of New Brunswick.

A third phase of the overall Biondi Bypass now pending is the widening from two lanes to a four lane dualization from Doctors Way to Valley Road, including the revision of three existing traffic signals and the replacement of the bridge over Royce Brook.

Most recently, U.S. 206 southbound traffic was shifted onto a new ramp toward Andria Avenue, located south of Doctors Way. Konkus crews have installed construction barrels and barricades on the southbound roadway to redirect traffic onto the newly constructed ramp.

The major work on the north side of the bypass has been completed.

The last major piece of construction remaining is the completion of the new U.S. 206 Bypass bridge over the CSX railroad tracks south of Hillsborough Road, which is expected to be done by early next year, according to NJDOT. Once that is finished, utility relocation work on both ends need to be completed, as well as final paving on both ends of the project.

When completed, the Biondi Bypass will shift traffic onto a new 3.6-mi. section of U.S. 206 to the east of the existing highway between Mountain View Road and Old Somerville Road. This will create opportunities for the development of a town center along the current U.S. 206 through Hillsborough.

The 1.7-mi. center section of the bypass was built first as part of a $44 million state-funded contract, completed and opened in October 2013. The $36.6 million state and federally funded Contract B will construct the remaining portion of the Biondi Bypass.

The project limits are from Mountain View Road to Hillsborough Road on the southern end and from Amwell Road/Somerset County Road 514 to Old Somerville Road on the northern end.

The 1 mi. stretch of U.S. 206 between Valley Road and Brown Avenue will undergo a major overhaul that will widen the congested two-lane highway to four lanes while eliminating left turn movements by constructing a concrete center median, in addition to building jug handles for U-turn movements at new signalized intersections including Brown Avenue and Camplain Road. The final tasks will be to replace the Norfolk Southern Railroad bridge over U.S. 206 and perform associated track work.

NJDOT has acquired several properties along that stretch of roadway, with new stormwater retention basins and other improvements to be constructed along the project corridor.

The construction of the proposed roadway and bridge improvements will be completed in stages to maintain two-way directional traffic and allow access to all properties throughout the duration of the construction project, according to NJDOT.

Work in 2020 will continue along the bypass segment of the project as weather permits through the end of the year.

"U.S. 206 has an average daily traffic volume of approximately 30,000 vehicles per day. These traffic volumes are very high for a two-lane roadway and major delays in traffic flow are currently experienced during peak travel times. The project corridor also has a high number of residential and commercial access points along both sides of [the roadway]," said Meredith Hammond, manager of NJDOT Community Relations.

The U.S. 206/Biondi Bypass in Hillsborough was first considered as early as the 1970s, as the community began to develop, but remained only a concept until the early 2000s. In August 2010, township, local and state officials broke ground to officially start construction of the bypass at mid-section.