Commissioner Lettiere thanks motorists for
slowing down along I-295 reconstruction project
(Trenton) - State Transportation Commissioner Jack Lettiere today thanked motorists, NJ State Police, construction officials and workers and NJDOT employees for their help improving safety in the I-295 construction project between Mt. Laurel and Cherry Hill.
On June 4, Lettiere called upon motorists to slow down in the 8-mile construction zone for the sake of worker safety and in order to meet construction deadlines. Work on the $65 million project to rehabilitate I-295 in Burlington and Camden counties began in March.
"I'd like to thank the motorists for their cooperation and the NJ State Police for their diligence in ensuring that the men and women who work on this site are able to return home safely each evening," Lettiere said. "Whether it's for the sake of motorists, or for the people who work repairing and building our roads, safety must always come first."
Lettiere ordered increased signage, including electronic speed-reading signs and message boards, more State Police patrols, and reduced the speed limit from 50 mph to 45 mph on June 4. Stationary signs measuring 9-feet wide by 9-feet high were installed warning drivers that they face double fines in construction zones. VMS (variable message signs) were also deployed with similar messages and two of NJDOT's four new radar signs that read vehicle speeds were placed in the construction zone.
On average, speed has been reduced by 17 mph and speeding tickets issued by State Police increased by 36%, up from 133 the week prior to the new measures to 181.
The Fix-It-First project is replacing 40-year-old deteriorating 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 made it difficult for construction equipment to traverse the area and threatened to delay the December 2004 completion date and drive up project costs. The contractor is R.E. Pierson Contracting Co. Inc. of Piles Grove, NJ.
Richard Pierson, president of R.E. Pierson, said work and safety conditions have improved dramatically in the past weeks and allowed his crews to make up lost time.
"We'd want to thank the Commissioner and the DOT for slowing down traffic and allowing us to get our job done safely," Pierson said. "It's been a tremendous help."
Frank DiAntonio, president and business manager of Laborers Local #172 applauded the improvements on behalf of the men and women working on the site.
"Everyone has a family and needs to get home safely at the end of the day," said DiAntonio. "And it's important to the public that the job is completed as efficiently as possible. We want to thank Commissioner Lettiere and the NJ State Police for their quick response to what was becoming a dangerous situation."
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.