Project to fix the missing link in N.J.’s I-295 begins

Monday, New Jersey Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno described how a new viaduct will soon replace “a weird factoid of New Jersey” interstates, the convoluted intersection of I-295 with I-76/Route 42.

Currently drivers on I-295 in South Jersey must merge with heavy traffic on I-76/Route 42 for a half-mile before rejoining I-295. The N.J. Department of Transportation says the rate of accidents is seven times the statewide average for roads. 

Guadagno said the new $900 million viaduct, which will cross over I-76/Route 42, will help increase the state’s attractiveness to businesses.

“We regularly say that people come to New Jersey for our highly educated workforce and our perfect location on the Northeast Corridor, including any place from Massachusetts down to D.C.” she said, standing near the infamous intersection. “The biggest hiccup in that straight line is where we are standing right now. What can only be called a weird factoid in New Jersey is the distance of the interruption on 295.”

The I-295 viaduct, just one of many improvements planned for the 295/76/42 interchange, will begin construction in 2016 and is expected to be done in 2021. Drivers will begin to see lane closures in the area, when phase one begins on Monday, March 18.

Rick Hammer, with the federal Department of Transportation, says one of the first problems to be addressed is improving how drivers can get from Route 42 to I-295.

Drivers on Route 42 who wish to take 295 northbound, and drivers on 42 northbound who need to get to I-76, must cross over each other in heavy traffic. There is a high incidence of accidents at this location. By one year from now, the state will see a new ramp connecting 42 northbound to 295 northbound, which will be off to the right side and eliminate the need for drivers to weave from one lane to another.

N.J. DOT Commissioner James Simpson said that during the busy summer season the normal number of lanes will be available for drivers headed to the shore. “The normal congestion you would experience in the summer, you can expect that,” he said.

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