The New Jersey Department of Transportation's (NJDOT) federally funded $68 million construction project to improve the intersection of Route 17 and Essex Street in Lodi Borough, Maywood Borough, and Rochelle Park Township, Bergen County began September 8, 2007 and was successfully accelerated to limit the duration of closure of the Essex Street Bridge to about six months, which was approximately half the time allowed under the contract. Only minor work remains and the project will be deemed substantially complete on November 26, 2008.
The purpose of this project is to reduce congestion and improve safety by replacing the deteriorating bridge carrying Essex Street over Route 17 (circa 1934) and reconstruct the adjacent interchange ramp connections. The construction of the new interchange (pdf 949k) will incorporate these significant improvements:
- Replace the existing four-lane bridge over Route 17 with a new bridge that carries six lanes, including four through lanes, one exclusive left-turn lane centered between the through lanes and one auxiliary right-turn lane on the eastbound side for access onto Route 17 northbound.
- Replace the existing unsignalized full diamond interchange with new signalized ramp connections in the southeast and northwest quadrants. The new Route 17 northbound ramps will tie into Essex Street opposite Maywood Avenue and the new Route 17 southbound ramps will tie into Essex Street between Route 17 and Riverview Avenue, where there is an existing connection to I-80.
- Widen Route 17 in the vicinity of the interchange to accommodate six lanes of traffic (three lanes in each direction) plus shoulders provide auxiliary (acceleration/deceleration) lanes for traffic entering or exiting the highway.
- Widen Essex Street to accommodate five lanes of traffic between Maywood and Riverview Avenues, including four through lanes (two in each direction) and a center turn-lane to facilitate left-turns onto intersecting roads and adjacent properties.
- Make significant drainage improvements along Route 17 to alleviate flooding, including constructing a new drainage system along Route 17 and connecting this new system into the recently constructed existing drainage system along Gregg Street. In addition, the deteriorating open bottom concrete culvert (circa 1911) carrying Lodi Brook under Essex Street west of Route 17 will be replaced with a new concrete box culvert.
- Construct a new Lodi Municipal Parking Lot on the south side of Essex Street, west of Route 17, to service the adjacent businesses.
- Construct highway lighting and signing improvements throughout the interchange area, including overhead sign structures on Route 17.
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