Five South Jersey municipalities will receive state safe-corridor money to help improve safety on sections of two of the region’s most dangerous and deadly roads.
Vineland and Millville are getting more than $140,000 in state grant money to address issues along a 10-mile stretch of Delsea Drive, also known as Route 47.
More than $160,000 in funding is designated for Route 40, also known as the Black Horse Pike, between mileposts 50 and 60 in Egg Harbor and Hamilton townships and Pleasantville in Atlantic County.
Officials in the two Cumberland County towns can use the funds to pay for police vehicles, radar equipment, computer hardware and software and salaries to bolster safety on Delsea Drive between mileposts 40 and 50.
That section of Delsea Drive is one of 14 10-mile stretches of roadways designated by the state Department of Transportation as safe corridors. Fines for a variety of motor vehicle offenses in those zones are doubled.
“The New Jersey Department of Transportation’s top priority is safety, and these grants fund local enforcement and capital improvement projects that help make our roads safe,” state DOT Commissioner James Simpson said. “The funding helps local governments achieve their objectives without burdening local property taxpayers.”
Officials in Cumberland County, and especially Vineland, have recently said that safety improvements are needed along stretches of Delsea Drive.
State Police reports show 127 people died in traffic-related accidents in Cumberland County from 2008 through this year. Fifteen of those fatalities, or almost 12 percent, occurred along the designated length of Delsea Drive. Ten of those fatalities occurred in Vineland, where much of Delsea Drive is an over-capacity, two-lane highway that passes through business commercial areas.
One of those deaths involved 8-year-old Bridgeton resident Aryonna Watson, who died of injuries three days after being struck by a car while trying to cross Delsea Drive at Sherman Avenue in Vineland on May 16.
Fairfield Township, Cumberland County, resident Stephany James is charged with aggravated manslaughter, reckless manslaughter, endangering the welfare of a child and hindering prosecution in connection with Watson’s death. Authorities allege that James ordered Watson to cross Delsea Drive to stand by some purchases James made at a nearby supermarket.
The Black Horse Pike in Atlantic County was named by a transportation safety advocate group in February as one of the most deadly roads in New Jersey for pedestrians. The Black Horse Pike has earned that distinction in several reports released over the years by the Tri-State Transportation Campaign.
According to the campaign, 18 pedestrians were killed on the road between 2005 and 2011.
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