TRENTON — The New Jersey Department of Transportation announced a realigned and renamed Safety Service Patrol program that brings new focus to the core mission of fighting roadway congestion.
The patrols will now assist motorists every day of the week throughout the program’s entire coverage area, helping to keep traffic flowing along key travel corridors in northern, central and southern New Jersey. Budgetary constraints had limited weekend coverage under the former Emergency Service Patrol program to southern New Jersey only.
“The data-driven changes we are making will preserve and enhance an important safety and congestion-fighting program that helps us maximize existing roadway capacity,” Commissioner James Simpson said. “By realigning patrols, we are able to achieve cost savings and provide motorists with weekend service for the first time along some of the state’s highest traffic-volume corridors.”
The realigned program will be launched in the first quarter of 2011.
Expanded weekend service is being achieved in part by pulling back SSP coverage from relatively low-traffic, low-congestion and low-accident areas. Safety Service Patrol trucks and crews will now operate along 225 center-lane miles of New Jersey’s core commuter and high traffic-volume roadways.
The SSP program improves roadway safety and helps prevent or minimize congestion by relocating disabled vehicles that have been involved in minor accidents from travel lanes and shoulders.
Patrols will be conducted along portions of interstates and other freeways where statistics demonstrate the greatest need for service. SSP crews respond to more than 100,000 incidents per year.
- In the northern part of the state, SSP patrols will operate on I-80, I-78, I-280 east of I-287 and on I-287 from Edison to just north of I-80.
- In central New Jersey, patrols will operate in the greater Trenton area on I-95, 295 and on 195 as far to the east as the Turnpike interchange, as well as on parts of Route 29.
- SSP will operate in southern New Jersey in the Camden/Cherry Hill region along I-76, 676 and 295 north to Mercer County, as well as on portions of Routes 42 and 55.
SSP service will be provided 16 hours per day Monday through Friday and for 10 hours every Saturday and Sunday.
Concentrating staff and vehicles to areas of greatest need helps NJDOT make the best use of limited resources and enables the program to operate with approximately 70 employees utilizing about 45 vehicles. The intent of the realignment is to minimize cost and maximize benefits to motorists.
The realigned program is expected to function on a budget of approximately $4.3 million, allowing NJDOT to reprogram about $9 million in federal support for pavement, bridges or other capital needs.
In addition to clearing disabled cars out of travel lanes and from shoulders, SSP crews help create safe zones for emergency responders during incidents and remove debris from travel lanes.
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