Circular argument: N.J. lawmaker wants to end jughandle construction

A New Jersey lawmaker wants to ban construction of any more jughandles in the Garden State.

Sen. Jim Holzapfel says he’s been trying for years to stop construction of the highway configurations known as jughandles. He said it’s preferable to have broader lanes for traffic to make left turns at intersections.

“Technology has reached a point where the traffic-control devices are such that they can permit cars to maneuver through an intersection without the necessity of going and condemning and purchasing all kind of land to put in jughandles,” said Holzapfel, R-Ocean.

A spokesman for the state Transportation Department disagrees.

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Jughandles are an accepted engineering design, he said, and the state will continue to use them.

“Sometimes they are the most appropriate way to safely get people access to cross streets,” says Joe Dee. “You’re getting that traffic that’s stacking to make the left turn off the highway, off the main line.”

While he’s not sure exactly how many exist throughout the state, Dee says jughandles in New Jersey date back to the 1930s or ’40s, and they’re in use all around the state.

The Senate Transportation Committee will have a public hearing Monday on Holzapfel’s bill.

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