Last updated on May 16, 2017 at 02:42 pm
The Garden State Parkway is one of the twin arteries – the NJ Turnpike being the other – that makes sure traffic flows through the state. It is an immense, 172-mile-long stretch of highway that varies from an epic five lanes wide in both directions down to a relatively simple two-lane road at its ends. It is also undergoing some serious construction in preparation for the future.
In Cape May County, the only three traffic lights on the entire stretch of the Garden State Parkway were removed earlier this year from exits 9, 10, and 11. This removal started a two–year, $110 million project to create an uninterrupted flow of traffic at the southern entrance of the Parkway. The project includes building three new flyovers, exit lanes, and access lanes that will no longer impede the flow of traffic on the local cross streets.
In 2012, construction began on a project to add full-size shoulders between interchanges 83 and 100. These shoulders, which will be the width of a normal lane, will greatly improve the ability of emergency vehicles to operate and will improve traffic during motorists’ breakdowns. In addition, improvements to interchanges 88 and 89 will be made so that motorists traveling north or south on the GSP will have complete access to Route 70 in both directions.
Perhaps the largest undertaking is the widening of the GSP between Somers Point and Toms River. This massive, three-phase undertaking includes adding an entire lane to both the northbound and southbound lanes, plus a full-size shoulder to the entire stretch of the Parkway between mile posts 30 and 80. The construction, which began in 2011, is being done in three major phases and encompasses the Patcong Creek Bridge and Bass River Bridge. It will also add an express E-ZPass lane at the Barnegat Toll Plaza. Phase three is not slated for completion until 2015.
The Great Egg Harbor Bay Bridge project, which began earlier this year, is a $210 million undertaking that will create a new southbound span right next to the existing southbound span of the bridge. After the new span is completed (projected for 2016), the current northbound bridge will be “re-decked” while traffic is diverted to the southbound lanes. Once the “re-decking” is complete, the old southbound bridge will be torn down. As part of this project, the Old Beesley’s Point Bridge will be taken down.
Also at interchange 105, many motorists are happy to hear of plans to improve the bottleneck created by drivers trying to access Route 18 and Route 36. The project includes realigning the existing jughandles and creating a new one to eliminate the left turn onto Hope Road. Preliminary work has begun, with the entire project aiming for completion by the close of 2015.
Along with these ongoing projects, there are traffic improvement projects slated to begin in 2014 at interchanges 125 and 163. To find out more info, you can visit the NJ Turnpike Authority.
Plymouth Rock in New Jersey wants to know what projects are you most eager to see completed?