Route 18 rehabilitation project in New Brunswick
wins prestigious AASHTO award
(Trenton) - The New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) today announced that the $200 million Route 18 reconstruction project in New Brunswick has been recognized with the Northeast Region On Time/Large Project Award from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO).
AASHTO officials made the announcement last week.
The reconstruction of Route 18 began in August 2005 and was one of the most complex construction projects in state history. This stretch of Route 18 handles over 80,000 cars per day and services vehicles heading to major entities such as Rutgers University, Johnson & Johnson’s Corporate Headquarters and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.
NJDOT constructed new elevated outer roadways to separate Route 18 local traffic from express traffic, allowing easier and more fluid access to and from New Brunswick via new bridges at George Street, Commercial Avenue, New Street and Albany Street. The severely dilapidated highway was completely reconstructed from the vicinity of Route 1 to north of the City.
Previously Route 18 had acted as a barrier in between the City and its natural recreational and environmental resources along the Raritan River. By providing new bicycle and pedestrian paths along the new elevated outer roadways this project has reconnected the city’s institutions and residents with those resources, while also greatly adding to them. The addition of a ramped promenade and new amphitheater adjacent to Boyd Park serve to highlight the functionality of the aesthetic improvements made to the entranceway into New Brunswick.
The ambitious undertaking of the Route 18 reconstruction led to the implementation of numerous project management tools and techniques that have now become the backbone of the Department’s new Project Delivery Process. Innovative engineering solutions, such as the George Street Bridge which is the first bridge in the world to combine precast concrete arches with a lightweight concrete cellular overfill, and the incorporation of Context Sensitive Solutions such as a Brunswick Shale cut stone-look for large surface areas, bridge parapets that mimic New Brunswick's older structures, neighborhood noise wall construction prior to major project construction, and on-site research studies conducted by Rutgers and Villanova Universities, contributed to the overall success of the project.
Due to potential serious traffic impacts to users of Route 18 during construction, NJDOT worked with the entire New Brunswick community on traffic mitigation efforts. This community partnering effort – established six years before a shovel ever hit the ground - helped mold the project’s construction schedule to present 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.
The Route 18 reconstruction effort, which has corrected serious traffic and safety problems that had plagued the highway for years, was completed on time and on budget in September 2009.