Allentown mayor: County will develop ideas for intersection improvements

ALLENTOWN – Mayor Thomas Fritts has reported a meeting that was held with the Monmouth County engineer to discuss a busy intersection in Allentown resulted in a measure of progress.

During a meeting of the mayor and Borough Council on Sept. 22, Fritts said he and other Allentown representatives met with county engineer Joseph Ettore to discuss the intersection of South Main and High streets.

There is no traffic signal at the intersection and both roads are under the jurisdiction of the county: South Main Street is designated as Monmouth County Route 524 and High Street is designated as Monmouth County Route 539.

The Newell Elementary School and Allentown High School share a campus on High Street not far from South Main Street and the intersection of the two roads is one of the busiest locations in Allentown at various times of the day.

In a recent letter to Ettore, Fritts wrote that “South Main Street and High Street are in great need of improvement. The intersection of the two roads is very hard to navigate due to poor vertical and horizontal geometry.

“There are obstructions due to the alignment of most driveways; elevation differences between the sidewalk and pavement make it difficult to walk the area; and the storm water system at the intersection of the two roads appears to require much needed improvement,” the mayor wrote.

During his Sept. 22 report to the governing body and members of the public who were watching the meeting on Facebook Live, Fritts said county engineers rate the intersection of South Main and High streets as one that is failing.

He said for Allentown to address the issues by itself would be “enormously expensive.”

“But our meeting with the county engineer was a great success. The county will come up with an internal conceptual plan to address this situation. That plan will come at a cost to them, but they understand how important this is. We are pushing hard to get some improvements done” at the intersection, the mayor said.

“Everyone knows what is needed there. It’s a long time coming and we just need to see it through,” Fritts said.

At various times, the idea of installing a traffic light at South Main and High streets has been raised, but Fritts said he does not want a traffic light there and he said he does not believe the State Historic Preservation Office in the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection would support the installation of a traffic light at the intersection.

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