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The Pennington Circle in Hopewell Township is extremely familiar to locals, who either avoid it or curse non-locals who can’t figure out how follow pretty basic traffic signs — yield sign for you, means get out of my way.

The Pennington Circle has been the subject of ongoing traffic studies and traffic accidents. Between 2010-2013, there were 200  accidents either on the Circle or on one of its entrances. In 2013, the Pennington Circle ranked 98 among all state highway intersections requiring improvements or reconstruction to improve safety, according to the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT).

This winter some significant brush clearing in the center of the circle marking the beginning of improvements to come by NJDOT aimed to improve the safety and operational performance of the Pennington Circle.

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From NJDOT: NJDOT will install traffic metering signals north and south of the circle on Route 31 to provide gaps in the circle, particularly during peak hours.

Striping improvements will be made to better delineate lanes within the circle, and truck aprons on the north and south ends of the circle will be installed to provide more room for trucks to negotiate the circle safely.

The project includes moving the curbs back on a portion of the circle, which required utility relocation.

The vegetation was cleared for the relocation of a utility poles, as well as part of NJDOT’s maintenance efforts to remove damaged or diseased vegetation that may pose a hazard or limit sight lines. Some modest landscaping will be completed along the east side and infield area of the circle to replace the vegetation that was removed. The commemorative trees planted in honor of George Washington’s birthday will not be removed.

The contract is expected to be awarded this spring with construction scheduled to begin in the summer. The project is expected to be complete by the end of the year.

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Mary Galioto is the founder, publisher and editor of MercerMe. Originally from Brooklyn, Mary has progressively moved deeper and deeper into New Jersey, settling in the heart of the state: Mercer County. Formerly the author of an embarrassingly informal blog, Mary is a lifelong writer and asker of questions and was even mentioned, albeit briefly, in the New York Times and Washington Post. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from SUNY Binghamton and a Juris Doctorate from Seton Hall Law School. In her free time, Mary fills her life with excessive self-reflection, creative endeavors, and photographing mushrooms. Mary also works as the PR Coordinator at the Hopewell Valley Arts Council, serves on the volunteer Board of Trustees of the Lawrence Hopewell Trail (LHT), holds a seat on the Hopewell Borough Board of Health, and is a member of the Hopewell Valley Municipal Alliance.

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