TRENTON – Sen. James Holzapfel’s bill to prohibit jughandles from being constructed in the future was released by the Senate Transportation Committee.
At the hearing, Holzapfel said he believes jughandles do not function and have outlived their usefulness.
He cited a study saying they don’t function properly.
Holzapfel said the state would be better off widening the intersection to create two left turn lanes for traffic control, like they do in Florida, rather than devoting lanes for cars to enter the jughandles.
He added that cars may have to wait through multiple traffic signal changes to get through an intersection, the one they just passed, if they are trying to get around a packed jughandle.
The committee released the bill with the understanding that the bill will be discussed with state transportation officials and could be amended to include whatever recommendations that are offered. No DOT officials attended the hearing.
Some of the committee members expressed concern about limiting the DOT’s options.
Sen. Donald Norcross (D-5) of Camden, said that he’s “conflicted” about the bill. While he said “it’s a good idea in less populated areas,” he added, “I’m just not comfortable taking this out of their arsenal of tools,” saying jughandles are probably the only choice for some intersections.
“Taking this out of all future projects is an issue,” he said. Still, he voted to release it out of committee in order to not hold up the bill further.
Holzapfel originally introduced the bill in 2003 when he was an assemblyman. He has reintroduced it every two years since, with little success seeing it move up the legislative process.
Sen. Nicholas Sacco, (D-32) of North Bergen, said “I’m concerned about the absolute nature of this…but I think the idea of it is extremely good.”