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news release

P.O. Box 600
Trenton, NJ

Contact: Mark LaVorgna or Brendan Gill
609-530-4280

RELEASE: August 4, 2005


Route 18 project in New Brunswick begins


$200 million project will fully reconstruct Route 18 and provide congestion relief; largest project in DOT's budget

(New Brunswick) Today, New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) Commissioner Jack Lettiere was joined by U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone (NJ-6 th), New Brunswick Mayor James Cahill and a variety of officials to break ground on the Route 18 reconstruction project in New Brunswick. The project will fully reconstruct a dilapidated stretch of Route 18 from Route 1 to the NJ TRANSIT/Amtrak Northeast Corridor rail bridge and add auxiliary lanes in both directions to reduce the extreme congestion caused by vehicles coming in and out of downtown New Brunswick.

 

"Route 18 is an outstanding example of the tremendous transportation needs we have in New Jersey merely 1.8 mile long stretch of road that will require $200 million in federal funds. It certainly highlights the importance of the work Senators Corzine and Lautenberg, Congressman Pallone and the rest the New Jersey Congressional Delegation did in passing a new federal transportation bill that will bring home more federal dollars to New Jersey and will allow us to fund more desperately needed projects like Route 18," noted NJDOT Commissioner Jack Lettiere.

 

"This long-awaited Route 18 reconstruction project is crucial to support on-going economic development projects in New Brunswick and the growth of Rutgers University in New Brunswick and Piscataway," U.S. Senator Jon S. Corzine said. "It is a project worthy of the federal support it has received, including the $10 million in funding which was included in the transportation bill which just passed the Congress last week."

 

"Today's groundbreaking marks the beginning of improvements that will reduce traffic congestion and increase mobility throughout New Brunswick and Rutgers University," said U.S. Senator Lautenberg. "As one of the key negotiators who hammered out the final Highway bill, I understood the importance of this project for the region. Transportation infrastructure is essential for New Jersey so we must do all we can so every commuter has the smoothest, safest ride possible."  

 

"New Jersey DOT has developed an innovative plan for Route 18 that will correct serious traffic and safety problems that have plagued the highway in recent years," Congressman Pallone said. "Congress showed its commitment to this project by including it in the transportation bill passed last week. I'm looking forward to a quieter, safer and less congested Route 18 when DOT completes its work in four years."

 

The reconstruction of Route 18 will take over 4 years to complete with the expected project completion in Summer of 2009. It is one of the most complex construction projects in state history and is the largest project in NJDOT's FY 2006 Capital Construction Program. Route 18 in New Brunswick is one of the most heavily congested corridors in the state with over 80,000 cars per day and services vehicles heading into downtown New Brunswick and major entities such as Rutgers University, Johnson & Johnson's Corporate Headquarters, Saint Peter's University Hospital and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.

 

Due to the potential serious traffic impacts to users of Route 18 during construction, NJDOT has embarked on its largest ever community partnering effort to work with the entire New Brunswick and surrounding community on traffic mitigation efforts. The partnering effort has helped mold the project's construction schedule to have the least possible impact on Route 18 motorists, taking into account factors such as city residents' concerns, Rutgers University scheduling, and the health care and corporate community's needs. Each piece of the traffic mitigation effort has been written into the construction contract and will be strictly adhered to by the construction contractor, Conti Enterprises.  

 

Additionally, NJDOT has hired a full-time on-site communications professional to address day to day community concerns about the project and has created a comprehensive Route 18 reconstruction web site that will be updated as the project moves forward. The web site will also provide access to on-road cameras that will let motorists know what the traffic conditions are on Route 18 before they begin their commute.

 

"Anyone who has driven Route 18 knows this project was desperately needed both from a safety standpoint and from congestion relief standpoint. While we are making every effort to make the construction process as painless as possible for motorists, we are still asking for drivers' patience as this project moves forward," noted Lettiere. "While the construction may try your patience, please remember that the end product will produce a vastly better Route 18. I can point to the Route 18 extension just down the road in Piscataway as an outstanding example of how we can drastically improve your ride with major improvements."

 

Listed below are some of the extensive steps NJDOT is taking to ensure the project causes as little disruption as possible and the project schedule:

 

Traffic Mitigation

 

Lane Closures

As a part of NJDOT's comprehensive traffic mitigation plan, the contractor will have to adhere to the lane closure schedule listed below. NJDOT will strictly enforce the set lane closure parameters with fines ranging from $10 to $20 for every minute the contractor has closed a lane improperly.

 

Route 18, Northbound and Southbound

All lanes must remain open:

•  Monday thru Friday 6:00 AM to 9:00 PM

•  Saturday 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM

•  Sunday 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM


Minimum of two lanes must remain open (in the three lane section)

•  Monday thru Thursday 9:00 PM to 6:00 AM

•  Friday 9:00 PM to 8:00 AM

•  Saturday 8:00 PM to 9:00 AM

•  Sunday 9:00 PM to 6:00 AM

 

Minimum of one lane must remain open (in three or two lane section)

•  Monday thru Thursday 11:00 PM to 5:00 AM

•  Friday 11:00 PM to 6:00 AM

•  Saturday 11:00 PM to 6:00 AM

•  Sunday 11:00 PM to 5:00 AM

 

No work that will interfere with the flow of traffic will be permitted on the day Rutgers graduation, home football games or major sporting events.

 

No lane closures will be permitted during holidays.

 

There is a similar lane closure schedule for Route 1, Route 27, and Route 172, but closures on those roads will not be as often or have the impact of Closures on Route 18.

 

**Emergency work that is necessary to ensure safety is a permissible reason to violate the lane closure plan.**

 

Incentives and Disincentives

For each stage of the construction, NJDOT will monitor the progress and impose incentives or disincentives to the contractor, i.e. monetary rewards for work completed early and fines for work completed late.   Each stage of the construction is required to be completed within a certain time frame.   A detailed incentives/disincentive plan written into the construction is another step NJDOT is taking to ensure the most expeditious possible completion of the project.

 

Some of the highlights of the incentive/disincentive plan are:

 

Disincentives/fines

  • For the completion of the Route 27 Underpass, which requires a one-time closure of Route 27, the contractor can be fined $2,000 for every hour the work is late.   Only 77 hours are permitted for this stage
  • For the completion of the New Street Bridge, the contractor can be fined $5,000 for every day the work is late.   Only 338 days are permitted for this stage.
  • For the completion of the Route 1 Southbound to Route 18 ramps, the contractor can be fined $10,000 for everyday the work is late. Only 31 days are permitted for this stage.

Incentives/rewards

  • For the completion of the Route 27 Underpass, which requires a one-time closure of Route 27, the contractor can receive additional payment of $2,000 for every hour the work is completed ahead of schedule.   Payments are not to exceed $46,000.
  • For the completion of the New Street Bridge, the contractor can receive additional payment of $5,000 for every day the work is completed ahead of schedule. Payments are not to exceed $400,000.
  • For the completion of the Route 1 Southbound to Route 18 ramps, the contractor can receive additional payment of $10,000 for every day the work is completed ahead of schedule. Payments are not to exceed $100,000.

Project Schedule

Web site construction schedules


Below is the immediate and long-term construction schedule for the project.   The long term schedule is a broad outline as conditions in the field can quickly alter the schedule.   Each month NJDOT's Route 18 Reconstruction web site will list the specific work ongoing during that particular month.

 

Schedule for August

  • The contractor will re-stripe lanes to shift traffic so that barrier curbs can be installed.
  • Barrier curbs will be placed from just south of New Street to just south of George Street. All of the work will take place in the median where crews will be removing the grass.
  • This will be followed by paving within the median and along portions of shoulders. Some lanes closures will begin in mid-August
  • Tree clearing will continue.
  • Rough grading for utilities will take place from Paulus Boulevard to Newell Avenue on southbound side.
  • Safety drums will be put in place on the northbound roadway.

Long Term Schedule

  • Stage 1- Summer 2005-Fall 2005
    Traffic Pattern Changes: Close Crest Road access
    Construction: Temporary paving to allow traffic shifts, Albany Street between Neilson and Burnett Streets, and Route 18 resurfacing between Route U.S. 1 and Paulus Boulevard

  • Stage 2 Winter 2005-Fall 2006
    Traffic Pattern Changes: Close New Street Interchange and Commercial Avenue jug handle. Activate double left turns from Route 18 northbound to Commercial Avenue. Close southern Carpender Road and Dewey Drive access. The Route 27 Underpass construction will require a weekend closure of Route 27 between River Road and Burnett Street.
    Construction: New Street bridge and roadway reconstruction, Route 18 southbound between Richmond Street and George Street, Carpender Road pedestrian bridge, Paulus Boulevard, and Route 27 Underpass

  • Stage 3 Fall 2006-Fall 2007
    Traffic Pattern Changes: Open New Street Interchange. Close Commercial Avenue, Burnett Street, and the Route 27 to Route 18 southbound Ramp. Johnson Drive to be maintained during staged construction.
    Construction: Commercial Avenue reconstruction, Route 18 southbound between the Northeast Corridor bridge and Richmond Street including the western 1/3 of the bridge over Route 27 and Johnson Drive, and Paulus Boulevard jug handle

  • Stage 4
    Traffic Pattern Changes: Open Route 18 southbound ramps at Commercial Avenue and close Route 18 northbound ramps to Route 27.
    Construction: Commercial Avenue bridge and Route 18 northbound (local) between Boathouse Drive and Northeast Corridor bridge including the eastern 1/3 of the bridge over Route 27 and ramps to Route 27

  • Stage 5
    Traffic Pattern Changes: Open Commercial Avenue intersection and bridge. Open Route 18 northbound ramps to Route 27. Close George Street bridge and ramp.
    Construction: George Street Bridge, Route 18 freeway between Commercial Avenue and the Northeast Corridor bridge, and Route 18 southbound between George Street and Paulus Boulevard.

  • Stage 6
    Traffic Pattern Changes: Open George Street ramp to Route 18 southbound, and Route 18 freeway from Route U.S. 1 to Northeast Corridor bridge.
    Construction: George Street Bridge, Route 18 northbound (local) between Paulus Boulevard and Boathouse Drive, and Route 27 between Burnett Street and the Raritan River.

  • Stage 7
    Traffic Pattern Changes: Open George Street bridge and intersection. All traffic movements are open.
    Construction: Route 18 northbound freeway shoulder between Paulus Boulevard and Boathouse Drive

  • Stage 8
    Traffic Pattern Changes: All traffic movements are open.
    Construction: Route 18 median between Route U.S. 1 and Boathouse Drive.

Estimated project construction duration is 50 months, with substantial completion by Summer 2009.


 
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  Department of Transportation
  P.O. Box 600
  Trenton, NJ 08625-0600
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  Last Updated:  December 12, 2013