A bill that would ban the future construction of jughandles in New Jersey passed muster with a state Senate panel Monday, paving the way for its potential consideration before the entire body.
The measure by state Sen. James Holzapfel (R-Ocean) would prohibit the planning, design or construction of any additional jughandles on roads or highways statewide. It passed the Senate Transportation Committee Monday.
Holzapfel, in a statement issued after the committee vote, said the bill was inspired by projects on several state highways — including Routes 1, 4 and 130 — where issues of heavy congestion and frequent accidents were solved by removing jughandles and replacing them with flyover bridges and modernized intersection designs.
"While jughandles were originally designed to prevent the build up of traffic at intersections, they can no longer handle the high volumes that are now common on many New Jersey roads,” said Holzapfel, in the statement. "Cars get backed up and people often have to wait through three, sometimes four, light changes to get through an intersection with a jughandle."
Holzapfel first proposed the prohibition of jughandle construction in 2003 when he served in the General Assembly, and resubmitted it every two years since when new legislative sessions opened. Monday was the first time the bill saw the light of day in a committee review.
Instead of jughandles, new intersections would be designed with flyover bridges — essentially, overpasses — or with lane structures that eliminate the need to go through an intersection twice and separate traffic entering and exiting a roadway with greater distance, thus avoiding the potential for accidents and speeding up traffic flow in the process.
Holzapfel's bill would not affect current jughandles.