Commissioner Lettiere increases
safety on I-295 reconstruction project
(Trenton) - Transportation Commissioner Jack Lettiere unveiled plans today to slow speeding motorists traveling in the NJDOT construction zone on I-295 between Cherry Hill and Mount Laurel.
Work on the $65 million project to rehabilitate I-295 in Burlington and Camden counties began in March, but concerns about the safety of motorists and construction workers prompted a plan to crack down on speeding through the 8-mile construction corridor. During peak hours, NJDOT has required three lanes of traffic remain open to minimize delays for commuters, but Lettiere said lanes could be restricted if motorists don't comply with construction zone speed limits.
"The reconstruction and rehabilitation of I-295 is long overdue, and in order to complete the work safely and efficiently and on time, we need the public's help," he said. "Too many motorists are ignoring the reduced speed limit endangering themselves and the construction workers, creating an unacceptable condition. Safety must come first."
The plan calls for increased signage, including electronic speed-reading signs and message boards, more State Police patrols, and a reduction of the speed limit to 45 mph. Implementation will begin Friday and continue through Monday.
Larger stationary signs will be installed warning drivers that they face double fines in construction zones, VMS (variable message signs) will be deployed and post similar messages, and two of NJDOT's four new radar signs that read vehicle speeds will be placed in the construction zone. In addition, State Police presence will be increased, included additional ticket patrols.
Traffic volume on I-295 exceeds 90,000 cars daily; the highway was constructed more than 40 years ago. The Fix-It-First project will replace deteriorated pavement and bridges, and install state-of the-art technologies to alert motorists to road construction and congestion. Construction is underway between MP 32 and 38.5. During peak hours three lanes of traffic are maintained; the number is reduced throughout the remainder of the day to allow for maximum efficiency.
Speeding vehicles make it difficult for construction equipment to traverse the area and could delay the December 2004 completion date and drive up project costs, Lettiere said.
The project limits are from south of County Route 561-Berlin-Haddonfield Road in Cherry Hill Township, Camden County to just north of Route 38 in Mount Laurel Township, Burlington County.
Bridge structures over Route 70 north and southbound will be replaced, as well as the I-295 northbound structure over Church Street and the I-295 southbound structure over Church Road. Additionally, $2.5 million is allocated for Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) work which includes the following: five closed-circuit cameras to monitor the highway for emergencies, and congestion, from NJDOT's Traffic Operations Center in Cherry Hill; two electronic signs to provide commuters with highway information; Remote Traffic Microwave Sensors to measure traffic volumes and speed, and installation of WIMS (Weigh-in-motion stations) to measure truck weights without unduly slowing traffic.
Interstate 295 extends a total of 68.06 miles from Pennsville Township in Salem County to Lawrence Township in Mercer County. The two outer lanes of the southern section of I-295 in Cherry Hill were built in 1961 and 1962. All three lanes of the northern section located in Mount Laurel were built in 1964. The northbound and southbound inner lanes of the southern section in Cherry Hill were added in 1970. There are 13 major bridge structures within the limits of this project.