A plan that that would eliminate left turns from Route 1 northbound onto Washington and Harrison streets in West Windsor has been scheduled for 2012.

The state Department of Transportation announced this month that the program, which aims to increase safety and reduce traffic congestion in the Princeton and West Windsor portions of Route 1, that the trial program.

Under the trial program, which would be conducted for several months and then evaluated, left and U-turn movements for Route 1 northbound motorists at the Washington Road and Harrison Street jughandles would be eliminated, DOT officials confirmed. "The change is designed to prevent potentially dangerous queuing and congestion on the rightmost of three Route 1 northbound travel lanes in the vicinity of the two intersections," officials said in a press release.

Instead, during the trial, motorists would use either the grade-separated Alexander Road interchange just south of Washington Road to enter Princeton, or use the grade-separated interchange at Scudders Mill Road north of Harrison Street to make a U-turn onto Route 1 southbound for access to right turns into Princeton at either Harrison Street or Washington Road, state officials said.

Eastbound and westbound Washington Road motorists will continue to have all three existing travel options – to Route 1 South, to Route 1 North or through to remain on Washington Road at the Route 1 intersection.

Eliminating left-turns and U-turns for Route 1 northbound traffic at the two jughandles has the potential to provide low-cost congestion relief, especially during peak periods, state officials say. The DOT will assess traffic conditions on Route 1 and nearby local roads prior to and after the proposal is implemented to gauge the effectiveness and practicality of the measure and will monitor for any potentially negative unintended consequences, they added.

Traffic in the Route 1 northbound rightmost live travel lane frequently comes to a standstill during peak periods due to queuing at the jughandles. The change is intended to minimize inconvenience to motorists and to better accommodate emergency vehicles that will be using this stretch of Route 1 to access the new University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro, which is scheduled to open in mid-2012.

The DOT decided to implement the trial program after construction activity is concluded on Alexander Road and at the intersection of Harrison Street and Route 1, the press release stated.