- Associated Press - Friday, December 4, 2015

ROBBINSVILLE, N.J. (AP) - Amazon officials say workers at a New Jersey warehouse will begin working staggered shifts to alleviate traffic congestion.

Traffic grinds to a halt for miles when the fulfillment center’s more than 4,000 employees are going in and out during rush hour. Resident Robert Lerman previously said it can take up to 40 minutes to drive less than a mile.

Amazon’s plan, announced Thursday, comes a day after Robbinsville Mayor Dave Fried threatened to sue over the gridlock, NJ.com reported (http://bit.ly/1lAxbcp ).

Fried says the staggered shifts will help ease the bumper-to-bumper traffic conditions. Four shifts at the 1.2 million-square-foot fulfillment center will be staggered over a 90-minute period instead of a half-hour.

Tim Hall, regional director of operations at Amazon, apologized for the confusion in a letter to the mayor and said the rescheduling had been in the works. He said the company began informing employees of the change earlier in the week.

“We are incredibly grateful that they were able to come and we were able to work something out,” Fried said. “This is a good thing for Upper Freehold, a good thing for Robbinsville and a good thing for Amazon.”

Hall says Amazon will monitor traffic and work with the township to make any necessary changes. He also said the company must consider the needs of its workers and balance that with the needs of the community.

“Altering operations at the busiest time of the year is not a simple task,” he said. “Many of our associates have families with children in school or child care concerns.”

The plan is expected to be in place by Monday. Traffic is expected to return to normal after Dec. 23.

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Information from: NJ Advance Media.

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