Route 495 Bridge over Route 1&9/Paterson Plank Road rehabilitation project to begin in Hudson County
Initial work requires temporary local lane closures
(Trenton) - New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) officials today announced the start of a major rehabilitation of the Route 495 Bridge over Route 1&9 and Paterson Plank Road in North Bergen which leads to the Lincoln Tunnel.
The $90.3 million state-funded project to rehabilitate the nine-span viaduct includes repairs and reconstruction of the bridge deck, replacement and strengthening of deteriorated structural steel, and the repair and painting of the substructure. Construction will be accomplished in stages by first making improvements to local streets in the surrounding areas that will need to handle some of the diverted traffic during bridge construction.
Mobilization work, including sign installation and erosion control, will begin next week in advance of local street improvements necessary before work on the Route 495 viaduct. The work to be performed in this first phase will be under the bridge and along the Paterson Plank Road – Union Turnpike corridor and will not affect peak period traffic on mainline Route 495.
Beginning in the summer of 2018, the major work will begin on the bridge. At that time one lane of Route 495 in each direction will be closed, limiting the roadway capacity and causing severe congestion.
The exclusive bus lane (XBL) will remain operational during construction. This construction is expected to last for about two and a half years while the entire bridge deck, parapets, light fixtures, guiderail, and drainage are replaced. The entire project is expected to be completed in summer 2021.
The Route 495 Viaduct is a nine span bridge that carries traffic over the NYS&W and Conrail rail lines, as well as Route 1&9, Paterson Plank Road and Liberty Avenue in North Bergen, Hudson County. Route 495 opened in 1939 and originally provided access between Route 3, Route 1&9, and the Lincoln Tunnel. In 1952, the roadway was extended west and a new interchange with the NJ Turnpike was constructed.
Each weekday more than 150,000 vehicles (eastbound and westbound trips combined) travel the 3.45 mile length of Route 495. Truck and bus percentages range from 9 percent to more than 30 percent depending on time of day.
The Route 495, Route 1&9/Paterson Plank Road bridge deck is in poor condition and the structural framing and supporting piers have areas of severe corrosion and section loss. The purpose of this project is to restore the structural integrity of the bridge, extend the service life of the bridge for an estimated 75 years, and minimize the need for emergency repairs, which impact traffic operating conditions.
The project will replace the concrete deck of the Route 495 viaduct including the westbound exit ramps to Route 1&9 southbound and Paterson Plank Road northbound. The deck replacement will require multiple stages to maintain traffic while structural repairs are performed and all steel components are repainted to preserve the existing structural steel. Additional improvements, including new highway lighting, drainage, barriers, guiderail, attenuators, and paving will improve operations and safety in addition to extending the viaduct’s useful life.
Exclusive Bus Lane
The exclusive bus lane (XBL) is a contra-flow transit lane along Route 495 from the NJ Turnpike to the Lincoln Tunnel and is considered the busiest and most productive bus lane in the nation. Each weekday, the XBL dedicates a westbound travel lane to eastbound buses during the morning commute from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Each day more than 1,850 buses carrying more 63,000 passengers travel from the North Bergen Park and Ride, west of Route 1&9, across Route 495 through the Lincoln Tunnel to the Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan. The XBL lane will be maintained during all stages of construction.
NJ Transit’s North Bergen Park and Ride Lot
The North Bergen Park and Ride Lot is located beneath the Route 495 viaduct immediately west of Route 1&9. NJ Transit Bus Route 320 – Mill Creek, Harmon Meadow, New York, operates at the Park and Ride and travels to the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan, New York City. The lot has more than 1,500 parking spaces. The parking spaces that are located below the bridge will be lost temporarily during construction. Therefore, a new temporary parking area is being created adjacent to the existing lot during construction that will result in a net gain of 136 spaces.
Advance Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS)
NJDOT is in the process of completing an Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) project along the Route 495 corridor involving the placement of new electronic signs and closed circuit television cameras to assist in managing traffic through the construction zone. The following ITS equipment is in-place and operational before traffic along the Route 495 corridor is impacted by construction:
- Five (5) new Dynamic Message Signs (DMSs) to display and control the advanced warning signage on the westbound approach to the project.
- Five (5) new Variable Speed Limit Signs (VSLS). The speed limit will be 40 MPH next year during construction of the bridge rehabilitation.
- Eighteen (18) new Overhead Lane Control Signals (OLCS) will provide clear direction to motorists regarding the current status of the XBL lane and to provide accurate and consistent information to motorists during construction.
- Two (2) new closed circuit cameras/poles will assist in monitoring traffic conditions during construction.
The closely spaced ramps along Route 495 westbound within the project limits are a contributing factor to crashes in the area. The ramps from Route 495 westbound to Paterson Plank Road northbound and to Route 1&9 southbound will be reconstructed as a part of this project, and therefore will have to be closed during later phases of construction. The closures will be done independent of each other so as to minimize traffic impacts on the local roadways. However, the 31st Street on-ramp to westbound Route 495 will be detoured for a longer period of time during construction as the high traffic volumes on the ramp would cause safety concerns in the work zone.
Upcoming work on local roads
Beginning Monday, September 18 continuing weekdays through fall 2017, NJDOT’s contractor I.E.W. Construction Group Inc., is scheduled to begin mobilization work including the installation of signs, and erosion controls. Work is scheduled to take place between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday through Friday through the fall 2017. There may be additional work during off-peak hours when necessary.
In the next few weeks, the Paterson Plank Road ramp to Route 3 westbound near the Harmon Meadows Complex in Secaucus will be temporarily narrowed from two lanes into one. In addition, one right lane on West Side Avenue northbound and the shoulder on 36th Street, both in North Bergen will be closed. The work at both locations will allow construction crews access to work zones underneath the Route 495 Viaduct. NJDOT will provide updates before any closures are implemented. These new traffic patterns are necessary to establish work zones for preliminary improvements to the local streets in advance of construction on the Route 495 Bridge over Paterson Plank Road.
NJDOT created a project-specific website – www.RestoreNJ495.com – which contains a wealth of information about the Route 495 Bridge rehabilitation, and will be updated with relevant new information as work progresses. The Department is carefully coordinating the Route 495 Bridge rehabilitation project with other regional transportation infrastructure projects to minimize traffic congestion.
The Department has a project hotline telephone number, 201.408.8495, and email, DOTOutreachRT495@dot.nj.gov. Anyone who has questions, concerns, or suggestions is encouraged to contact the Project Outreach Team as work progresses.
NJDOT will be using Variable Message Signs to provide advance notification to motorists of traffic pattern changes associated with the work. The precise timing of the work is subject to change due to weather or other factors.
Motorists are encouraged to check NJDOT’s traffic information website www.511nj.org for real-time travel information and for NJDOT news follow us on Twitter @NJDOT_info.