New Jersey Roads - US 206 - Somerset Co.

in Somerset County

In 2011, work was underway to bypass a very old railroad bridge that forced US 206 into a sharp S-curve. These photos look north at the future mainline.

Within a month (August-September), the new roadbed extended just about to existing 206.

Looking south at the future connection of Pike Run Rd. to realigned US 206, which will run past the outhouses. Part of the now-former US 206 ROW has been used by Township Line Rd. to stay connected. Originally, that road went straight across the railroad at-grade and intersected US 206 right there. It's quite possible the earliest incarnation of US 206 crossed at that same point, on a diagonal, before the first railroad overpass was built.

Photos look west from "old 206" at "new 206" as it takes shape across the railroad.

Right now, US 206 SB turns sharp left at these chevrons, and CR 601 comes in at the stop sign. Soon, US 206 will curve left across the new bridge, and CR 601 will meet it at a "T" in the middle. It will come to a traffic light that will be horribly timed, resulting in long delays for CR 601 NB traffic turning left. Call me Nostradamus.

Right before the horrible shield atop this page was a very decent Somerset County shield. They're both gone post-reconstruction. I accept the demise of one good shield to cancel out the horror of the other.

For nostalgia's sake, here's one last trip over the old bridge, SB. It wasn't remarkable, but it's ancient history now.

The old Belle Mead Station peeks its roof over the side of the old bridge. It's farther from the new bridge, but whether it's more or less visible depends on the trees in the way.

Homestead Rd. EB away from US 206, looking north and south under a new bridge. This is Bypass US 206, officially not part of the route until it connects to at least one end of the existing highway. The problem is, they built the middle section first (Hillsborough Rd. to CR 514, crossing here without an interchange), which is fairly useless on its own. The next piece will connect to US 206 across the railroad it just crossed, begging the question why no one planned ahead enough to route US 206 up Township Line Road and stay on the east of the railroad the whole time instead of crossing it 3 times. To make matters worse, the bypass comes into existing US 206 without modification, meaning there will be a 2-lane section between there and CR 601 with no parallel road. Trust me, it will make matters worse. At least widen the existing road to 4 lanes! The north end will take over Old Somerville Rd. at some indeterminate future date, tying into the expanded section at Falcon Rd., but that quickly dives back down to two lanes again. Maybe NJDOT is hoping to connect the upgrades by shrinking the gaps between them whenever they can, but I'm not seeing a particularly meritorious endeavor.

Homestead Rd. WB. Bypass 206 is built in the remaining state ROW from the aborted I-95 Somerset Freeway, which would have connected Trenton to I-287 via Hillsborough and a number of less-populated (especially in the 1960s) townships. Don't underestimate the power of a few selfish millionaires.

Looking south from the new bridge at Hillsborough Rd. and the temporary end of the bypass. It's divided over Hillsborough and the railroad, but still just one lane each way, in another notable failure by NJDOT to meaningfully upgrade the corridor.

Walking north up the south embankment. There's quite a lot of grade to fill, about 3 feet to the top of the grate (which is set at the roadway surface). About half is concrete, and the other half is stone subgrade to let water drain from the concrete instead of ponding underneath and cracking it.

Looking farther north at the future railroad overpass. Dirt is for the embankment, the tall steel piles are for the abutment.

I've surreptitiously crossed to the north side, so now I look south at the bridge beams.

Just north of the commercial stretch of US 206, SB at Andria Rd.

SB under a notorious railroad outside Manville. This underpass is nearly singlehandedly preventing the four-lane Somerville bypass from connecting to the Hillsborough bypass.

Original county line sign and a control section sign that's only newer by comparison, courtesy Doug Kerr.

US 202/206
Continue north on US 206 to Chester and beyond
Continue south on US 206 to Princeton and beyond
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More bypass construction from CR 514

Onto Somerset CR 601
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