Amazon warehouse presents potential congestion issues
Burlington County officials presented a multimillion-dollar plan June 27 aimed at easing traffic on Route 130 as construction continues on a 1 million-square-foot Amazon warehouse set to open in 2020.
The county will be providing $10 million in funding to begin the process of reconstructing several intersections, including Route 130 and Dultys Lane in Burlington Township.
In addition, Burlington County Freeholder Director Kate Gibbs said county officials have reached an agreement with Amazon to change employee shift times to mitigate congestion.
Construction has begun on Amazon’s new distribution center at the former U.S. Pipe and Foundry site, which spans parts of Burlington Township and Burlington City.
The project is one of many shipping-related businesses to set up shop in the region in the last decade or so, county officials said.
“For too long, infrastructure improvements have lagged behind development causing unnecessary traffic headaches,” Gibbs said during a June 27 news conference.
Officials said they did not know how many people will be employed by Amazon at the warehouse, but they did say the facility will add hundreds of vehicles daily to nearby roadways, especially Route 130.
Gibbs said the distribution center will handle large products like appliances. Traffic from warehouse employees — not trucks — is the main concern, she said.
The county has reached an agreement with Amazon to make sure shift changes don’t occur during the morning and afternoon rush-hour periods, Gibbs said.
“We wanted to make sure those major shift changes … where you have a large amount of employees entering and exiting at the same time on a shift, we wanted to try to alleviate that major exodus and arrival,” she said. “So we’ve asked them to change their shifts a little bit more outside of those times.”
Gibbs said county representatives are also in discussions with Amazon about an employee shuttle service and incentives for carpooling and using public transit.
County officials also laid out a plan June 27 to redesign the intersection of Route 130 and Dultys Lane.
It involves the county taking jurisdiction of Dultys Lane from the township and widening the roadway significantly to provide two lanes heading toward Route 130. The plan also includes constructing a gentler curve on Dultys Lane approaching the intersection and providing double left turn lanes on both Dultys Lane and Route 130 North.
After the project is complete, Gibbs said the county will direct trucks to use Dultys Lane to get to Route 130 with the idea of preventing the vehicles from clogging other roads in the community.
The other Route 130 intersections included in the multimillion-dollar plan are located at Florence-Columbus Road and Cedar Lane in Florence Township.
“Route 130 has been a problem in southern New Jersey for 30 years, but we know that in South Jersey oftentimes we don’t get our fair share of funding and attention,” Gibbs said.
“If we can improve the flow at those intersections, it’ll improve flow for the whole region,” she added.
Work on all three intersections is expected to start in about two years and will likely be completed about 18 months after construction starts, county officials said.
Gibbs said the initial $10 million in “seed money” for the Route 130 plan will come from the Burlington County Bridge Commission and allow the county to begin the process of completing the improvements.
The money will later be reimbursed to the county through the Transportation Trust Funding, grant funding and private sector sources, she said.