Police Say Best Thing To Do Is Slow Traffic Down; State DOT On The Case

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — There were three accidents in a single day and 20 in the space of a month.

Cops say a stretch of Route 3 in Bergen County is so dangerous the state may need to take drastic action, reports CBS 2’s Tony Aiello.

The area of concern is located just a stone’s throw from the Meadowlands.

“It’s been nothing but a fiasco!” resident Dennis Walker said.

Walker lives within sight of the westbound bridge over the Hackensack River, where the center lane is closed for repairs and drivers are forced to split to the left or right.

It seems like a simple maneuver, but it’s proving difficult. There were three crashes there on Thursday, bringing the 30-day total to 20 traffic accidents.

“Any time you change a traffic pattern, you know you’re gonna have some kind of problems, but this seems to be a big problem right now,” said Marino Rotondo of the East Rutherford Police Department.

Police said the divided highway takes drivers by surprise, with many who go left missing their intended exit on the right.

As one approaches the construction zone there is just a single sign telling drivers the highway is about to split — and that sign is pretty tough to see. It’s tucked behind another sign, and at 50 mph if you blink you’ll miss it.

“I don’t think that it’s properly laid out as far as warning the people that there will be a split,” Walker said.

On Friday, the New Jersey Department of Transportation announced steps to improve safety approaching the work zone with better signage and new pavement markings.

If that doesn’t work, local police want the DOT to close the left lane entirely, and send all traffic off to the right. Yes, that will cause delays.

“Sometime that’s the idea, just slow traffic down, make things safe so you reduce the number of accidents and injuries,” East Rutherford Police Chief Larry Minda said.

The roadwork will continue for another year.

Police said speed and driver inattention have been factors in most of the Route 3 accidents.

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