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Amazon Bringing More Than 1,300 Jobs To Township With New ‘Receive Center’

Engineer Robert Freud talks about the site plan for the Amazon warehouse at Weston Canal and Randolph roads.


Amazon is coming to the township, bringing with it more than 1,300 jobs in a “receive center” targeted for Weston Canal and Randolph roads.

The Planning Board on Oct. 3 gave final approval to Bridge Pointe Somerset to modify one of three warehouse buildings that had won board approval in June. The building needed to be reduced in size from 1 million square feet to 616,032 square feet.

The Amazon center will receive bulk items, which will then be broken down into smaller packages and sent out to regional fulfillment centers.

Amazon expects to employ 550 people for each of two shifts during its non-peak season – January through October – and 675 people for each of the two shifts during its holiday peak season of November and December, Craig Peregoy, the developer’s traffic engineer, told the board.

The early shift will run from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and the late shift will be from 7 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. The warehouse will operate seven days a week, said Mark Griffin, Amazon’s property lease negotiator.

Amazon still has several other approvals to get before it can break ground. But Vince Dominach, the township’s economic development officer, said the company wants to get started as soon as possible.

Acknowledging that the number of employees and truck deliveries will affect traffic on adjacent roads, Amazon will pay for some improvements in several areas, Peregoy said.

He said the left turn lane on Weston Canal Road at Randolph Road will be extended to 550 feet “to accommodate the largest queue line from the peak time of Amazon’s operation, so we pull that traffic out of Weston Canal Road, it’s not going to clog that up.”

“We’re also going to modify the traffic signal and the radius on the right turn from Randolph onto Weston Canal, so that when the left turn green arrow is on for Weston Canal, the right turn arrow can run out of Randolph Road,” he said. “That really frees up a lot of capacity.”

He said the company will also propose to the state Department of Transportation to install a traffic signal at Randolph and Schoolhouse roads.

“I think it’s going to be a big improvement,” he said. “It’s going to help day-to-day traffic, but it will more than mitigate Amazon peak volume.”

Peregoy said there will also be traffic signal timing changes at Schoolhouse and Weston Canal roads.

Amazon will also add a center left-turn lane on Randolph Road along the front of the warehouse property, he said.

“That really maximizes the capacity of the roadway,” he said.

There was some tension during the more than 2-1/2 hour meeting when board member Robert Thomas challenged Amazon representatives on routes that trucks would be taking when leaving the center.

Thomas was concerned that some trucks would meander through township streets looking for shortcuts to their destinations.

It was later agreed that Amazon will tell its drivers that when they leave the property, they should travel on Route 287 to get where they need to go.

“I think that’s the minimum you can do,” Thomas said.

The site plan called for more than 1,000 parking spaces, which some board members questioned, given that the most employees Amazon expects to have is 675. At the request of Township Councilman Ted Chase, Amazon agreed to look into “banking” up to 100 of those parking spaces. Banking parking spaces is holding off on building them until they are actually needed.

Two other buildings on the property, each measuring 308,550 square feet, will not be changed and do not yet have tenants.

 

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