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I-295/I-76/Route 42 Direct Connection


Overview


The New Jersey Department of Transportation's (NJDOT)
I-295/I-76/Route 42 Interchange project in Bellmawr, Mt. Ephraim and Gloucester City in Camden County is currently in Final Design and Construction. Construction began in March 2013 and will continue until 2021. The first two of four major construction contracts have been awarded. The third and fourth construction contracts are in the Final Design Phase.

In February 2014, NJDOT awarded Contract 2, a $153 million construction contract, to Conti Enterprises of Edison, New Jersey. Construction began in June 2014. Under this second contract, work will be carried out along I-295 north of Browning Road to Route 168 and along I-76 from Browning Road to Kings Highway. The I-76 eastbound ramp to I-295 northbound will be replaced on a new alignment and a new bridge will be constructed. I-295 will be reconstructed in the northbound and southbound direction and several ramps will be widened and realigned. Work under Contract 2 is expected to be completed in Fall 2017.

The project has been designed to minimize inconvenience to motorists. During Contract 2, NJDOT anticipates only several evenings and weekends of ramp closures in the vicinity of the I-295/I-76 interchange. I-295, Route 42 and I-76 will remain open to traffic throughout the entire project.

Work is already underway on Contract 1. Under the first contract, work is being carried out along I-295 south of Essex Avenue, along I-76 in the Market Street area and along two Route 42 ramps. The Creek Road and Bell Road bridges are being replaced and several stretches of roadways are being temporarily widened to accommodate work under future contracts. Work under this first contract is expected to be completed in Fall 2015.

Work is nearly complete to install Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS). This system includes Dynamic Message Signs to alert motorists of roadway incidents or congestion, travel-time readers and adaptive traffic signal control systems along portions of Routes 168 and 130. Collectively, these technology-based systems will give NJDOT a wider range of capabilities to manage traffic in Camden and Gloucester counties during project construction and beyond.

The I-295 mainline direct connection will be built under Contract 3, scheduled to begin in 2016 and to be completed in late 2019. When work under that contract is completed, I-295 southbound traffic will start using the new viaduct, but I-295 northbound traffic will not be using the new bridge until new ramps are built under the fourth and final contract.

NJDOT remains committed to continue to listen to residents, commuters and other stakeholders and keep them informed through newsletters, meetings, postings on the NJDOT project web site and other forms of communication as the project progresses.


BackgroundAljo's Curve photo

The purpose of this project is to improve safety and reduce traffic congestion at the intersection of
I-295, I-76 and Route 42. It will address quality-of-life issues relating to motorists, residents
and the environment.

At present the I-295, I-76 and Route 42 interchange does not provide a direct connection for I-295 through traffic. The existing interchange requires motorists to reduce speed in both directions of
I-295 to safely negotiate ramps with 35 mph speed limits.

In addition, drivers must also compete with vehicles entering from Route 42 and I-76, causing dangerous conditions. Being a major artery for Philadelphia commuter traffic via the Walt Whitman Bridge, and a connection to the southern New Jersey shore, Route 42 and the Atlantic City Expressway, this interchange is the busiest in the region.

Due to the high volumes of traffic, low main line design speed, complex configuration of the interchange and weaving movements, a high incidence of motor vehicle accidents often occur.

Background Studies

Between 1985 and 1987, an investigation was performed with the possibility of creating a direct connection with a design speed of 70 mph.

A straightened alignment was preferred from a traffic standpoint for optimal design speed, but it required the acquisition of a substantial amount of residential properties in the community of Bellmawr. Because of this, NJDOT decided to cease any further detailed data collection and/or analysis of this concept, which had come to be known as the "Unrestricted Alternative".

NJDOT's Bureau of Project Scope Development was then asked to evaluate and develop new conceptual solutions for improving the interchange. Twelve concepts emerged to be workable from strictly a constructability standpoint. These concepts illustrated how design speed would be increased up to 60 mph. Even without the benefit of detailed environmental studies and public or outside agency input, it was evident that each concept would have some impact to at least one known environmentally sensitive resource.

A key objective of the scoping/feasibility phase of NJDOT's effort was to improve the I-295/I-76/Route 42 interchange and to evaluate all of the potential impacts of these concepts. Coordination and communication with the surrounding communities and regulatory agencies was paramount in the consensus building required to make the necessary decisions on this regionally significant project.

Prior to the development of the alternative concepts for the
I-295/I-76/Route 42 interchange, the Route 42 widening project provided an additional fourth lane of travel for vehicles on Route 42 into and out of the interchange to the south. The new lane also eliminated the southbound weaving between I-76 to I-295 and the I-295 to Route 42 movements.

To meet federal transportation regulations, NJDOT in conjunction with Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC), agreed to a Transportation Investment Study (TIS). This study provided comprehensive multi-modal alternatives to address identifier transportation deficiencies within this area. Included in the TIS was a Congestion Management Study (CMS) that identified travel demand reduction strategies and operational improvements that complement a potential investment. The initial results of this study confirmed a continued need for the direct connection of I-295 movements through the interchange.

Efforts associated with the development of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) included:

  • Project partnering
  • Screening
  • Topographic Survey
  • Community involvement
  • Traffic Count Program
  • Development of Alternatives
  • Environmental Baseline Evaluations and Analysis
  • Technical Environmental Studies
  • Preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement and a selection of an Initially Preferred Alternative

Subsequent to the completion of the EIS a Record of Decision was issued.

 
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  Copyright © State of New Jersey, 2002-2014
  Department of Transportation
  P.O. Box 600
  Trenton, NJ 08625-0600
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  Last Updated:  September 30, 2014