A long awaited intersection improvements project for the busy Route 322 and Fries Mill Road intersection in Monroe Township is expected to start before the end of the year, and be completed by the end of Summer 2023.
Folks it’s really happening! There is even a project sign with full diagram setup at the intersection!
The redesigned intersection will be widened to give room for additional dedicated turn lanes at the intersection from all directions, which should significantly reducing the amount of traffic backing up and blocking cars who are looking to travel through safely without delay.
The project will also include roadside shoulders, new traffic signals, sidewalk, ADA curbing and drainage upgrades. While boke lanes are not called out specifically, the rendering from the county seems to indicate bike lines (center green areas in diagrams)
Route 322 is a New Jersey State Road and this project is listed in the NJDOT Capital Program budgets at $2.5 million (I believe the budget is higher than that.)
That being said, it appears this project is being locally managed by the County of Gloucester which began their coordination efforts at the start of 2022.
In fact, Gloucester County materials state that Atlantic City Electric has already completed much of the utility pole relocations ahead of core road constructions starting soon.
Note: Some key aspects of the information in this article comes from the County Road Work Updates website page.
Currently there is only one lane from each direction coming into the intersection, causing significant backups as traffic attempts to navigate towards one of several possible directions. All it takes is for one car to want to turn left and with only a single lane of roadway behind them, everyone is stuck waiting.
This also creates dangerous situations as traffic tries to “sneak through” quickly after becoming frustrated in waiting too long… and bad things can happen.
With the new intersection improvements redesign the County and State have addressed this problem by creating more dedicated lanes for each direction someone would be traveling. This also requires significantly widening the roadway as it approaches the intersection.
Consider today a car has three choices to move towards as it approaches the intersection; Left, Straight, or Right. As mentioned, today at Rt 322 & Fries Mill Rd all three of those are supported a same single lane (from each direction).
But in the new design there will be a dedicated lane for each direction someone is traveling TOO (Although westbound 322 will have a dedicated left-turn lane, but share a lane for straight and right-turn).
So for most of the intersection, what was one lane coming from a direction… becomes three.
What was four lanes entering into the intersection… becomes ELEVEN!
Dedicated passageways means better flowing traffic.
The key factor here is, if you want to go left, they’ll have a dedicated lane for you.
While significant portions of the land immediately surrounding this intersection are rural (such as the Scotland Run Golf Course, and the Glassboro Wildlife Management area), Rts 322 and Fries Mill Rd are key highly traveled routes between Monroe Twp, Glassboro, Washington Twp and Franklin Twps… and beyond.
The combination of the current intersection not being designed for today’s needs, and the growing amount of traffic… has made for a lot of frustrated drivers.
Long Time Coming
Back in June 2018 the Township of Monroe posted on their Facebook page an update saying progress was being made on the design plans, and that they were working on funding.
The post goes on to say that back in 2006 the Monroe Twp Council passed a resolution in support of a plan to redevelop the intersection. I don’t know if today’s plan has evolved beyond that original.
I think we can assume that if the Council Resolution to pick one of several alternatives was back in 2006, then the initial design work with multiple alternates for the Rt 322 & Fries Mill Rd intersection goes back many more years before 2006! Could it be close to twenty years in the making?
An article in the January 5th, 2021 Sun Newspaper quotes the Mayor on this intersection.
“Three-twenty-two (322) and Fries Mill Road is a bottleneck and it has been one for years,” he explained. “It has been funded and there is about $7 to $8 million available for this project.Monroe Twp Mayor Richard DeLucia to Sun Newspapers, Jan 2021
“I am going to do everything I can to push this along; I know how agonizing this is.”
So after all this design and wait, local residents should finally see the benefits of the new intersection and better traveling.. in less than a year!
Links and Location
Glassboro Rd (Route 322) & Fries Mill Road (CR 655) Interesection Imrpovements
Monroe Township, NJ (Gloucester County)
Gloucester County Road Work Updates
Intersection PDF Plan