The newly configured and much-maligned traffic circle that funnels motorists - or not, as the case may be - in and out of Atlantic City International Airport is working exactly as it should, according to the engineers who designed it.
Motorists - especially the 650 employees of the Federal Aviation Administration's William J. Hughes Technical Center - see it differently. Their morning and evening commutes have been hellish since the new Airport Circle opened in December, with backups and long waits at the new lights controlling traffic entering the circle and a confusing lane setup inside the circle.
The county has added signs and retimed the lights - and gone back to the engineers to see what can be done. The answer from them is not much, until a proposed direct connector to the Atlantic City Expressway is built - something that is years away.
But there is one other step that can be taken right now and that would have an immediate beneficial effect on traffic in the area.
As part of plans for the now-stalled NextGen Aviation Research and Technology Park, a road was built connecting Amelia Earhart Boulevard and Delilah Road. This road would allow many tech center workers to avoid the problematic circle.
Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson has said this road would be a big help with traffic in the area. County Engineer Joe D'Abundo says it would help. Tech center employees who have written letters to the editor say it will help.
There's just one problem. The road has been gated off and padlocked by Gordon Dahl, the executive director of the South Jersey Economic Development District, which holds the lease for the NextGen park.
Why? The explanations have varied. Dahl has mentioned safety issues, worries about the SJEDD being held liable for accidents and, most recently, concerns about the road's pavement. Levinson said that at one point he was told potential littering was the problem.
The real issue: Atlantic County pulled out of Dahl's organization in January, citing concerns about the SJEDD finances and a failure to complete required audits. The county and the SJEDD also are in the midst of a dispute over the future of the NextGen park and some outstanding bills.
Dahl has denied that he is being vindictive. But frankly, that's difficult to believe. The county has offered to operate the road - and to indemnify the SJEDD from any liability. But all Dahl will say now is that the county's proposal is being reviewed.
Mr. Dahl, enough already.
Remove the gates, open the road and help alleviate the traffic problems at the circle. Put the public first.