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Police: Curfew Compliance and Less Daylight Traffic Would Help

Inoperative traffic lights make even daytime driving a risky proposition.

Neither an overnight curfew nor requests for residents to minimize driving during daylight hours are being observed to the degree the Matawan Borough Police Department would like to see, Lt. Ben Smith said Wednesday.

The curfew, from 7 pm to 7 am, will be in force again Wednesday night, according to Sgt. Tom Falco, who is responsible for the borough's Office of Emergency Management (OEM). Even Matawan Mayor Paul Buccellato, who stopped by the police department at about 6:30 pm, said he was heading home to be off the roads in time for the start of the curfew.

With no local traffic signals operating and no power for street lights after sundown, Smith said, "We're asking people to take the normal precautions and stay off the roads even in daylight. It helps a lot when they do." However, he acknowledged that the borough was seeing significant vehicle traffic along Main Street, Route 34 and other local thoroughfares all day Wednesday.

The scarcity of open gas stations may begin to discourage driving more effectively than official advisories, however. In Matawan, Smith said, the police department had to make special arrangements for access to the BP station on Rt. 34, south of the railroad trestle an establishment that remained closed to the general public.

The department and the borough's Office of Emergency Management (OEM), has taken steps to minimize the risk of traffic accidents by posting standing stop signs in the middle of the road at major intersections and positioning traffic cones to limit traffic to single lanes and restrict turns across oncoming traffic.

With virtually all of the borough's retail establishments dark and closed, police are also keeping an eye out for burglaries and break-ins. Smith said two convenience stores, one on Rt. 34 and one on Main street have already reported break-ins.

A flyer posted at the entrance of the police station pass along the bleak news that JCP&L was advising local agencies as well as residents that overall outages in Matawan could last as long as 7 to 10 days. Inside, police officers coming and going from their patrols were exchanging stories of coping without power in their homes.

"We're in the same situation as everyone else," Smith said.

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