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New Jersey lawmaker proposes ban on traffic jughandles

What is a jughandle?

If that inquiry is posed to motorists in many states throughout the country, the response might likely center on, well, the handle of a jug. Perhaps a shrug or blank stare might be an equally common reaction.

"People from out of state usually are taken aback when they first encounter one of our jughandles," says a New Jersey writer and radio commentator, who calls traffic jughandles "a quintessential New Jersey road design."

A jughandle is best appreciated through a picture or illustration. Briefly described, it is an intended traffic-control and safety-enhancing device engineered to allow drivers to make indirect left turns or U-turns, especially in high-volume areas. Various types of jugheads enable drivers to enter ramps either in advance or beyond an intersection, eliminating left turns from the major road at the intersections. The idea: to reduce car accidents and cut back on delays.

There are an estimated 600-plus jugheads at highway intersections in New Jersey, and their efficacy is widely debated. One engineer voices a view that "they'll continue to be looked as a viable traffic management solution," while a number of critics say that they are anachronistic. One New Jersey resident calls them "cumbersome." State Senator James W. Holzapfel says that they "aren't suitable for today's needs because they add to travel time." Some vehicles, he says, have to loop through the same intersection multiple times before getting through.

Holzapfel, an outspoken critic of jughandles, wants to ensure that no more of them are constructed in the state. He has introduced legislation several times in prior years to effect that aim, and a newly crafted bill -- Bill S-207 -- is likely to go to the state Senate for consideration.

Source: Vineland Daily Journal, "Bill aims to stop jughandles in NJ," Bob Jordan, Feb. 3, 2013

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