Department of Transportation

50th anniversary graphic

Through the Years - 1970s

As the new decade unfolded, the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) was organized as a transportation agency, responsible for public transportation and aeronautics as well as highways. Commissioners John C. Kohl, Alan Sagner, Russell Mullen and Louis Gambaccini led the Department through the 1970s and into the early 1980s.

The decade culminated with the passing of the Public Transportation Act of 1979 which created NJ TRANSIT, a significant milestone for transportation in New Jersey.

john kohl photo
John C. Kohl
1970 - 1974
alan sagner photo
JAlan Sagner
1974 - 1977
russell mullen photo
Russell Mullen*
1977 - 1978
louis gambaccini photo
Louis J. Cambaccini
1978 - 1981


  • NJDOT launched a 'Community Services' program to increase the flow of information to the public.


  • A first in the nation, a 'remote' traffic signal was installed on Route 206, about a quarter mile from the Whitehorse Circle, where there is no intersection. This signal provided gaps in the northbound traffic to improve the traffic flow of the circle.


  • NJDOT hired the first female maintenance worker, assigned to the Somerville Maintenance Yard.


  • NJDOT hired the first all-woman maintenance crew, assigned to the new I-295 Rest Area, the first fully-equipped rest area on the State highway system, located a few miles north of the Delaware Memorial Bridge in Salem County. The new facility, situated on 40-acres, featured an information center, rest rooms, a picnic grove, parking for cars and trucks and sanitary and potable water facilities for recreational vehicles.
  • The first woman 'concrete inspector' began work at the NJDOT. Her work included checking concrete ingredient samples for proper moisture content, weight, grade and size.
  • The 2.5 mile Trenton bikeway, built in Stacy and Cadwalader Parks connected by the Lenape Avenue pedestrian bridge over Route 29, was the first bikeway sponsored by New Jersey.


  • NJDOT purchased 779 buses to revitalize bus service in New Jersey. It was the largest single bus purchase in the world.


  • The Public Transportation Act was signed into law establishing the New Jersey Transit Corporation (NJ TRANSIT) as a separate public agency to replace the NJDOT Commuter Operating Agency.
public transportation act signing photo
Governor Brendan Byrne signs the 1979 Public Transportation Act
into law in July 1979. With him are (from left) NJDOT Commissioner
Louis J. Gambaccini, Senator Francis X. Herbert and Senate President Joseph Merlino.

*Acting Commissioner

Last updated date: August 21, 2019 11:34 AM