The New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) has chosen a short list of alternatives to advance for further study as the Project progresses through the Environmental Impact/Alternatives Analysis process. A short list of five alternatives was selected after evaluating 26 initial alignment alternatives developed by the NJDOT Project Team, through the scoping phase of the Alternatives Analysis process. The alternatives to be advanced to the Technical Environmental Study (TES) Phase of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) are: D, D1, G2, H1 and K.
Five Short Listed Alternatives
Valuable input was received from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC), New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and other federal and state permitting agencies, local officials and community representatives. The Public Information Center (PIC) held on January 28, 2004 was a culmination of this collaborative process and assisted the NJDOT and FHWA in arriving at its decision. Each Alternative was selected for its low or minimal impacts to the built and natural environment as well as impact of construction on both the traveling public and local residents. All Alternatives meet the purpose and need criteria set forth in the scoping process of the Project which is to improve congestion and safety for motorists by creating a direct connection for thru traffic utilizing I-295. The results of these investigations will be set forth in an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), expected to be completed in 2007 with the identification of an Initial Preferred Alternative (IPA). Following the publication and distribution of the EIS, the project will enter the final design stage. Construction is projected
to begin in 2011 and continue through 2012. The project will be funded through Federal and State sources. A major carrier of Philadelphia commuter traffic via the Walt Whitman Bridge and a connection to the Southern New Jersey Shore via Route 42 and the Atlantic City Expressway,
the I-295/I-76/Route 42 Direct Connection is arguably the busiest in all of Southern New Jersey. However, the interchange does not presently provide a separate and distinct direct connection for I-295 thru traffic. The existing configuration of the interchange requires motorists
to reduce speed in both the northbound and southbound directions of I-295 so that they can safely negotiate ramps with the 35 mph speed limits. Exacerbating the problem is the fact that drivers traveling through the interchange on I-295 must also contend with vehicles entering from Route 42 and from I-76, necessitating numerous weaving movements.
Short Listing Status
The five short listed alternatives were evaluated as described in the Technical Memorandum Matrix Criteria - Updated 8/15/2003 (pdf 46k) and the Initial
Alternative Short List Screening Matrix Chart - Updated 9/29/2003 (pdf 95k) These were utilized to facilitate the selection of the alternatives with the least overall impacts that meet the Project Purpose and Need (pdf 504k).
The Initial Alternative Short List Screening Matrix Chart - Updated 9/29/2003 (pdf 95k) does not, in most cases, evaluate the absolute values, but it identifies the relative impact of the criteria between the twenty-six initial alternatives. For example, the constructibility ratings indicate the relative impact of each alternative for construction related delays and impacts to adjacent local communities. From this completed matrix, the NJDOT project team recommended which alternatives should be advanced for further study. The initial short listing was discussed with the various stakeholders (Community Advisory Committee (CAC), local elected officials, permitting agencies, etc.). It was also be presented at a public information center. A final list of alternatives that were advanced for further study in an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) has been identified and recommended to the NJDOT Commissioner and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) for concurrence.
The files listed above are in Portable Document Format (PDF). You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view these files, which is available at our state Adobe Access page.
Factors Considered when Short Listing Alternatives:
- Compliance with standard design criteria
- Comparison of Order of Magnitude Construction Cost
- Right of Way acquisition
- Wetlands preservation
- Traffic noise
- Air quality
- Socioeconomic conditions
- Environmental Justice
- Archeological resources
- Historic resources
- Potential hazardous/contaminated sites
Evaluation of Five Short Listed Alternatives
Five of the alternatives have been short listed (D, D1, G2, H2, K) for more detailed and further development for the preparation of the EIS. The following environmental studies and engineering will be performed on the short listed alternatives:
- Community and community resources
- Potential hazardous sites
- Historic resources
- Develop preliminary vertical profiles for state highways and local roadways impacted by the project.
- Develop highway sections.
- Develop cross-sections in critical areas to evaluate impacts.
- Analyze for traffic control and construction staging, prepare preliminary staging plans.
- Perform value engineering studies submitted on the alternative.
- Identify general geotechnical impacts.
- Identify and contact the affected utilities, identify critical potential conflicts.
- Evaluate the selected alternatives with respect to the access code, identify major impacts and recommend waivers.
- Perform preliminary conceptual evaluations for new structures and required modifications to existing structures.
- Evaluate depth of structures and span lengths, possible foundation types, footprints and method of construction/staging (structures anticipated to include bridges, drainage box culverts, noise walls and one tunnel alternative)
- Perform preliminary calculations for vertical and horizontal geometrics to evaluate profiles, clearances, cover, curves, super-elevation, design speed and required identified design exceptions.
- Evaluate Right of Way (ROW) impacts and cost based upon information obtained from tax maps or other existing records.
- Perform constructibility reviews by senior professional(s) with substantial construction experience. Evaluate alternatives for conformance with current construction methods and means. Recommend changes/improvements to the Alternatives.
- Prepare a feasibility assessment report of the conclusions.
- Prepare photo simulations of existing conditions vs. proposed construction for all five alternatives.
I-295/I-76/Route 42 Interchange Facts
- Is the largest and most congested intersection in southern New Jersey
- Carries large volumes of commuter traffic destined to and from Philadelphia via the Walt Whitman Bridge.
- Connection via Route 42 and the Atlantic City Expressway to the shore areas for weekend trips.
- At present there is no direct thru connection between I-295 north and south of the interchange without utilizing low speed ramps.
- The geometric configuration and the weaving movements present in the interchange combine to make this an area of high vehicle accidents.
- The existing configuration requires motorists to reduce speed in both the northbound and southbound directions of I-295 to negotiate mainline ramps with posted speeds of 35 mph. Short weaving movements with vehicles from Route 42 and from I-76 exacerbate this problem.
The following are schematics of the initial alternatives with bulleted descriptions. The alternatives are shown schematically only with exact alignments and bridge/tunnel lengths still to be determined in future phases of the project. For clarity, several of the sub-alternatives, which have
only minor changes, are not shown graphically.