Last night, Hopewell Township hosted the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) for an information session regarding impending changes to occur at the Pennington Circle on Route 31 in Hopewell Township.


In May of this year, MercerMe reported about the upcoming changes. And, in a notice to the public this month, NJDOT listed the following improvements:

  • Striping improvements to better delineate lane use within the circle;
  • Improved advanced signing and signing within the circle;
  • Two traffic metering signals to provide more gaps for traffic entering the circle — one north of the circle and one south of the circle;
  • Truck aprons at the north and south ends of the circle;
  • Pavement within the project limits to be milled and resurfaced;
  • Drainage improvements to reduce the flow onto travel lanes;
  • Upgrading existing guide rail to current standards.

The metering signals, as they are called by NJDOT, are traditional traffic lights with your obligatory green/yellow/red, to be installed north and south of the circle on Route 31 to provide gaps in traffic, particularly during peak hours, and will run on a 1-minute cycle.

“The main reason for the changes is to improve safety and performance in the circle — the signals will help improve traffic flow,” said Stephen Schapiro, NJDOT Communications Director.


Curbs are being moved and 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 and minimize vegetation erosion along with edge of the circle.

Vegetation has already been cleared for relocation of utility poles and some modest landscaping will be completed along the east side and infield area of the circle to replace the vegetation that was removed. The new vegetation is primarily native while what had been cleared was mostly non-native. The plants were selected by NJDOT for shade and color to have thoughtful aesthetics along with the intention of the shrubs along the east side of the circle to serve as a “snow fence” of viburnum and ilex, shared NJDOT Landscape Designer1, Lois Johann. NJDOT will be responsible for maintenance.

Landscaping Plans
Vegetation list

NJDOT predicts that there will be some traffic impacts during construction, namely anticipated shoulder closings, temporary lane closures and moving operations. No detours will be necessary. Construction is expect to start next week, beginning with drainage work and are scheduled to begin milling and paving in August. The project is expect to be substantially completed by October 2015.


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Mary Galioto
Mary Galioto is the founder, publisher and editor of MercerMe, and a lawyer. 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. In her free time, Mary fills her life with excessive self-reflection, photographing mushrooms, and misguided adventures in random hobbies. 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), serves on the Hopewell Borough Board of Health, is a member of the Hopewell Valley Municipal Alliance, and holds the elected position as the Hopewell Borough Democratic Committee Municipal Chairwoman.