The New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) recognizes that a project as significant and extensive as the I-295/I-76/Route 42 Direct Connection project requires a carefully planned, designed and implemented construction traffic mitigation plan so that drivers experience safe traffic flow through the project area with minimal delay or disruption. The process of developing the project's Traffic Mitigation (TM) Plan is consistent with the requirements called for under NJDOT's publication
on Traffic Mitigation Guidelines for Work Zone Safety and Mobility (October 2007)
Underlying the development of the TM Plan are the following objectives:
- Maintain at acceptable levels the flow of traffic through the construction area.
- Minimize travel delays experienced by motorists during construction.
- Educate the public about the purpose, objectives and benefits of the project.
- Encourage motorists to use transit and other alternative modes and educate travelers about the benefits of these modes.
- Reduce the number of incidents within the construction area.
To meet the above mitigation objectives, various traffic, highway, geometric and programmatic measures were evaluated with input from Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) from state, regional and local agencies. The TM Plan measures involved the following areas:
- Possible permanent and/or temporary improvements to surrounding alternative routes and/or congested intersections prior to the main construction.
- Contracting methods such as A and B bidding, and contractor incentive/disincentive provisions.
- Public information program to possibly include: public information meetings; brochures; news releases; media advertising; participation at community events and opening an information center near
the project site to provide full time employees to focus on: responding to walk-in customers, web site management, e-mail responses and responding to a telephone hotline.
- Motorist information program to include: Dynamic Messaging Signs (DMS); preconstruction signage; closed circuit TV (CCTV); highway advisory radio, advance information panel signs and travel advisories through various media including commercial radio/TV feeds, Transportation Management Associations (TMAs), major employer sites, project web site, cell phone alerts, etc.
- Travel Demand Management (TDM) program to maximize lane capacities by reducing the volume of traffic through the construction area. The program will possibly include: Rideshare marketing, incentives and support services; transit incentives and service enhancements; park and ride facility
management/expansion and employer outreach.
- Coordination with communities and other stakeholders to establish construction hours and obtain variances for noise abatement. This includes coordinating traffic control plans and construction
activities involving major highway work that are being undertaken or will be by the Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA) and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), among others.
- Mitigation actions to avoid or reduce construction impacts to local businesses.
- Incident management program to include: increased number of safety service patrols to assist stranded motorists and clear incidents; use of standby mobile command vehicle for use during
major accidents; use of a standby truck with mounted attenuator to clear incidents quickly and safely. Event plans should also be developed for managing traffic around major events occurring in the project vicinity.
From the initial collection of traffic mitigation strategies, NJDOT selected the following that were considered viable for implementation:
- Route 42 southbound Improvements - will add a 5th southbound lane on Route 42 between Route 55 and Leaf Avenue and relieve recurring evening commute problems which affect miles of I-76 eastbound and I-295 southbound traffic. This project is under construction.
- Route 168 Operational Improvements - will implement Adaptive Signal Control from Benigno Boulevard to Route 130 to optimize traffic signal timing and arterial traffic flow. This work is included in the Advanced Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) Contract.
- Route 130 Operational Improvements - will implement Adaptive Signal Control from the Brooklawn Circle to Route 38 (Airport Circle) to optimize traffic signal timing and arterial flow. This work is included in the Advanced ITS Contract.
- ITS Field Devices - will expand/enhance NJDOT's traveler information
and travel time systems along all four freeways approaching the interchange within a 10-mile radius.
Additional CCTV's are being added along Route 42 at Route 55 and on each leg of the interchange. This
work is included in the ITS Advance Contract.
- Incident Management - will build on the coordination work currently being practiced by members of the New Jersey 42/55,
I-76/676/295 Incident Management Task Force for application to construction conditions. This work is on-going.
Coordination with various NJDOT, regional and municipal projects in the area and with PennDOT are also on-going. The Delaware River Bridge Authority (DRBA) and the DRPA have also been contacted for input and for their cooperation in providing advance traveler information regarding conditions in the
Construction stages are being designed to maintain as many lanes as exists today during peak commute periods.
On-going information about project progress and site condition will be provided via the project web site and other forms of communication.