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calendar   Thursday - December 12, 2019

Life In A Small Town

Out on the highway here there was a truck accident at 4am. Closed the entire eastbound side. Traffic backed up to Pennsylvania; that’s a 15 mile long jam up. Everybody and their emotional support chicken tried to find a way around, but there really aren’t any. Traffic was jammed solid on every side street and through town. The morning rush was a nightmare, a parking lot for 5 hours. Somehow, somebody finally did something somewhere, and stopped the bypass traffic from coming through. Town emptied out, all the side roads cleared up.

Traffic is still backed up for miles on eastbound Interstate 78 in Hunterdon County after a tractor-trailer crashed and spilled more than 100 gallons of fuel and oil early Thursday, officials said.

The tractor-trailer struck the center median near exit 17 in Clinton Township at 3:54 a.m, State Police Sgt. Jeff Flynn said. The driver was not badly hurt and no other vehicles were involved. About 100 gallons of fuel and 15 gallons of oil ended up on the road.

Traffic cameras show debris in the center median and traffic still jammed at 9:05 a.m.

Sigalert.com shows traffic backed up to about Exit 12 as of 9:05 a.m. Side roads near Interstate 78 are also clogged with traffic.

It was almost eerie going downtown around 8:40. There was hardly a car on the roads. It’s a nice reminder of just how small our small town is. The vast majority of traffic we get is pass-through. There really aren’t that many locals. Too bad that Clinton is at a road nexus, but that’s where towns grow up after all.

Once upon a time, when New Jersey really was The Garden State, this corner was a farming community. Hey, Flemington was the once egg capital of the tri-state area, perhaps the nation!

In 1955 nearly 450,000 cases of eggs were sold as well as 65,000 crates of live chickens. By then it had become a $2 million a year business and a prototype for other operations across the country. In 1960 the name was changed to the Flemington Agricultural Market. In 1976 the auctions were discontinued due to lack of suppliers, as there were fewer livestock and poultry farmers in the area.

And a big pottery factory too!

But in the post-war years with the demise of the railroads and the opening of the interstates, the rise of grocery store convenience over farmer’s market freshness, other areas could now feed the cities, and farming and everything else diminished here. When Route 78 went through in the 1960s local farming pretty much went belly up and the whole county went back to sleep for a decade. But as the cities grew, suburban sprawl happened. And housing developments sprang up everywhere for the next 40 years. Now we’re on the outer edge, but our infrastructure isn’t much more advanced than when this was farmland. There is no room to add extra lanes to the highway. Not that I-78 is small; it’s a 6-8 lane highway for most of it’s length. When it was built it was a superhighway. It’s just that NJ has become the pass-through state. And when traffic gets bad, the pass-through shifts to all the local roads.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 12/12/2019 at 09:31 AM   
Filed Under: • Daily Life •  
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