New traffic circle connecting I-295 to Route 29 in New Jersey opens Nov. 8

The traffic circle, highlighted as a yellow circle, connects southbound I-295 to Route 29 in New Jersey. This is part of the major overhaul of the intersections in the area as they build a new Scudder Falls bridge. (Google Earth image)

The traffic circle, highlighted as a yellow circle, connects southbound I-295 to Route 29 in New Jersey. This is part of the major overhaul of the intersections in the area as they build a new Scudder Falls bridge. (Google Earth image)

New roundabout has been completed by the New Jersey Department of Transportation. The view is looking southeast. (Photo courtesy of DRTBC)

Bucks County commuters who work in Trenton will find their drive a little bit safer beginning, Thursday Nov 8.

A new traffic circle will allow drivers coming from Pennsylvania on southbound I-295 to access Route 29 on the New Jersey side of the river, which can take them to Lambertville or Trenton.

“The preponderance of traffic at that bridge at commuting hours will be Pennsylvania into New Jersey. A lot of them will be state workers,” said Joe Donnelly, a spokesman for the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission, which owns and operates the bridge.

The new interchange eliminates a dangerous T-intersection where traffic coming off the interstate had to come to a complete stop to avoid being broadsided.

Old configuration

This dangerous T-intersection has been eliminated. (Google Maps image)

The newly configured ramps will allow drivers the following options:

  • Drivers on I-295 coming from Pennsylvania who cross over the Delaware River will be able to access northbound Route 29 (to Lambertville) or southbound Route 29 (to Trenton).
  • Drivers on southbound Route 29 (Lambertville to Trenton) can access the ramp to I-295 toward Princeton.
  • Drivers on northbound Route 29 (Trenton to Lambertville) can access the ramps to I-295  to Princeton or use an existing ramp to get on the highway toward Pennsylvania.

New configuration

How the new ramps will work. The large highway is I-295. Southbound Route 29 is the vertical blue road on the left and northbound Route 29 is the blue road on the right side. (DRTBC image)

If you’re not used to traffic circles, it’s sometimes difficult to understand who has the right of way.

  • All vehicles move counterclockwise around the circular center island in a roundabout.
  • Motorists approaching a roundabout must yield to the left for any traffic already in a roundabout.  Put another way, traffic already in a roundabout always has the right of way.

Donnelly said the traffic circle should make driving safer and simpler.

“It’s a solution to a problem that has confused and vexed drivers for several decades,” he said.

The new traffic circle located on the downriver side of I-295 is part of the Scudder Falls Bridge Replacement Project.

A second roundabout is expected to be constructed by early summer on the interchange’s upstream side.

While the roundabout may make you think of wildly unpopular traffic circles that New Jersey’s Department of Transportation has been removing, there is a difference.  In traffic circles, traffic on the road into the circle usually has the right of way and travels at higher speed.  In the roundabout, the traffic already on the circle has the right of way, and traffic moves into the circle at slower, merging speed.

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