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Residents of Glassboro, New Jersey, express concern about the proposed Rt. 322 bypass near Rowan University
Residents of Glassboro, New Jersey, express concern about the proposed Rt. 322 bypass near Rowan University

GLASSBORO, New Jersey (WPVI) – As local and regional authorities move forward with plans for a Route 322 bypass in Glassboro, New Jersey, community residents are voicing concerns.

The project was initiated by Gloucester County “to address operational and safety concerns along Routes 322, 47 and High Street near Rowan University,” authorities say.

County officials told Action News they are particularly concerned about traffic problems and pedestrian accidents at Rowan University along Route 322.

“Children are getting hit by cars, traffic accidents – because of the high pedestrian traffic,” said Barry Beckett, a Gloucester County engineer.

According to the county, 15 pedestrian and bicycle accidents have been reported along Route 322 in the past three years.

Beckett said the county wants to reroute the bypass road that runs through the Rowan campus.

He said the county’s solution is a two-part plan. The first part is to create a truck bypass that diverts traffic from 322.

“The other section, which goes through downtown Glassboro, will be primarily car traffic,” Beckett said.

He said the second part would involve creating a parallel road between Girard Road and the rail corridor, continuing along High Street to Route 47/Delsea Drive.

This road would divert drivers off of 322 and into downtown Glassboro.

Beckett said the project will divert traffic away from Rowan University and create a pedestrian space through the middle of campus.

“I think it’s great that they want to make it safer for the students of Rowan, but they have to think about the residents,” said Lynda Gallashaw of Glassboro.

On Wednesday evening, hundreds of residents filled the Glassboro High School gymnasium for what they believed was a rally about the project.

However, no traditional meeting was held, which led to some heated moments as frustrated residents pressed Glassboro Mayor John Wallace to answer their questions.

Wallace told the crowd that there had been a misunderstanding about what was supposed to happen at the high school.

Project displays were displayed on easels in the gymnasium for people to view while county representatives were available to answer questions.

“The county has brought all the photo documentation of the bypass to clear up any misunderstandings,” the mayor told Action News.

“We will arrange another meeting with the county in a format that people agree with,” he added.

According to the county’s proposal, 34 properties would be affected by the implementation of this project, including nine complete property purchases.

However, Beckett said county authorities have not yet decided whether they will need to use the right of expropriation to acquire land that stands in the way of the project.

Laurie and Kirt Holland told Action News they fear their house could be in the way of the project.

“They say they don’t have to take our house and there’s enough room to put the Girard and the 322 between our sidewalk and the tracks,” Laurie Holland said. “They say right now it wouldn’t have an impact, but who knows.”

“It seems like there are better options that can accomplish what ultimately needs to happen without impacting the homeowners and the neighborhood,” added Kirt Holland.

Most people in the crowd on Wednesday expressed concern about the construction of the bypass road that would pass through their neighborhood.

“You really have to think about everyone. We’ve given them options. Now it’s their turn to give us options,” said Denise Norton of Glassboro.

Norton told Action News she has studied other traffic diversion plans at universities across the country and is convinced there are other options.

As for the cost of the project, Beckett could not give Action News an exact figure, but he estimated it could cost tens of millions of dollars, much of which would be paid for by the state.

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By Seren