Project to enhance major crosstown Camden artery to start in May

7th Street in North Camden looking towards Elm Street. Officials have broke ground on a $2.3 million enhancement project which will include flood mitigation and pedestrian improvements

7th Street in North Camden looking towards Elm Street. Officials have broke ground on a $2.3 million enhancement project which will include flood mitigation and pedestrian improvements. (P. Kenneth Burns/WHYY)

From Princeton to Cape May, what do you wonder about South Jersey, its people, and its culture that you want WHYY to investigate? Let us know here.

Another bad street in Camden is about to get paved over.

Officials broke ground Tuesday on the 7th Street enhancement project. The work will take place between Elm and Linden streets, a major artery that connects North Camden to downtown and the Ben Franklin Bridge to Philadelphia. It is also a major headache for residents and drivers alike.

Darrin Johnson, who lives in the area, has seen real damage done to vehicles that drive on the road.

“I’ve been seeing people get popped tires,” he said.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor
7th Street in Camden, looking towards downtown, connects to the Ben Franklin Bridge to Philadelphia. The enhancement project also includes ramp upgrades. (P. Kenneth Burns/WHYY)
7th Street in Camden, looking towards downtown, connects to the Ben Franklin Bridge to Philadelphia. The enhancement project also includes ramp upgrades. (P. Kenneth Burns/WHYY)

Johnson recalled a time when he was riding with a friend from Cooper University Hospital, when the vehicle they were in sustained major damage after hitting a nasty bump in the road.

“It ripped our axle off completely because the bump is so jagged up there,” he said.

The $2.3 million project, paid for with state and federal dollars, includes pedestrian improvements, flood mitigation and ramp upgrades. It comes a few days after officials announced a project in East Camden to reconstruct 27th Street between Marlton Pike and Federal Street. Overall, repairing streets is at the top of Camden Mayor Vic Carstarphen’s priority list in addressing resident’s concerns.

“I spoke to 100 residents,” the mayor said in his remarks, “99 of them talked about the big issue of improving our roads.”

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

Carstarphen said his administration has “been pushing forward ever since” to address residents’ concerns. This includes repairing more than 5,800 potholes last September, according to him. The mayor adds that’s one part of his overall strategy to upgrade city roadways.

“The city is working with local, state, federal and private sector partners to implement a comprehensive strategy,” he said.

Johnson is happy that officials will start work on 7th Street, adding “it’s much needed.”

“It’s also bettering the community,” he said. “Definitely the roads will be a lot more smoother, so we won’t really have [many] accidents like that.”

Construction is scheduled to begin Tuesday, May 3 with work expected to be complete by early fall.

The project is also seen as leverage by the Camden Lutheran Housing Inc., North Camden’s community development corporation, to attract investment and development.

“We have housing projects that are in the works,” said Brandi Johnson, the organization’s executive director. “There are a number of other developers who care about the neighborhood who are also going to be leveraging this gateway opportunity to attract people into the neighborhood and help to stabilize it.”

Get the WHYY app!

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal