Department of Transportation


The New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) has completed the Final Design for the Route 280, Route 21 Interchange Improvements Project located in the City of Newark, Essex County. The Final Design phase was completed in Spring 2015 and construction started in September 2015 and is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2018. The project is currently in Stage 4.

The purpose of the Route 280, Route 21 Interchange Improvements Project is to alleviate the poor condition and geometric concerns associated with six existing ramp and mainline structures in the vicinity of the Route 280 interchange with McCarter Highway (Route 21) in the City of Newark. These structures, nearly 60 years old, were determined to be Structurally Deficient and/or Functionally Obsolete. The proposed improvements will modify the existing interchange to provide all interchange movements between Route 280 and Route 21.

Proper replacement or rehabilitation efforts of these structures can address other long-standing concerns with this interchange. These include,

  • Correction of functional obsolescence and geometric deficiencies: Including substandard acceleration and deceleration lane lengths, ramp curvature, lack of right and median shoulder.
  • Improve safety in the project corridor: The geometric deficiencies, coupled with very high traffic volumes, contribute to crash rates that are considerably higher than the statewide average for interstate highways.
  • Complete missing interchange movements between an Interstate Highway and a Principal Arterial: The current configuration lacks important interchange movements from Route 21 northbound and southbound to Route 280 westbound and from Route 280 eastbound to Route 21 northbound. All existing missing interchange movements will be provided in the proposed project
  • Optimize existing Route 280 throughout without adding through lane capacity: By correcting the poorly designed entry and exit ramps, abrupt lane drops and circuitous access through Harrison, Route 280 operations will maximize the traffic serving capabilities of the current four-lane freeway corridor.
  • Improve corridor infrastructure condition and reliability: Various existing elements include parapets and railings, lighting, signing, median barriers and structural drainage elements. It is expected that these and other infrastructure elements will be brought up to current design standards, and state of good repair, where practicable.
Background studies
The project originated in November 2000 as the Concept Development Study of the William A. Stickel Memorial Bridge (2002). The study examined many alternatives for replacing or rehabilitating the Stickel Bridge and improving approach sections and interchanges of Route 280 on both westbound and eastbound sides. Subsequent to the Concept Development, the structural improvements required for the rehabilitation of the Stickel Bridge were separated from the roadway improvements and were advanced to the design development and construction stages. The rehabilitation of the Stickel Bridge was completed in 2008.

A Feasibility Assessment (FA) report was prepared for the Interstate Route 280 Nesbitt Street to Harrison Avenue (Milepost 13.8 to Milepost 15.2) project in 2005. Since the 2005 FA, the proposed improvements have been revised based on community input and new developments in the area such as the completion of the Newark Light Rail (NLR) and the Route 21 Transportation Systems Management (TSM) 6 project. The Preferred Alternative selected during the 2005 FA effort was refined as part of the April 2011 Addendum to adequately address comments from the community. In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, environmental impacts on both the natural and human environment were evaluated during the FA Addendum effort. The review concluded that the project would not have significant environmental impacts and was authorized by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) in August 2011.

An Interim Preliminary Design was developed and finalized in 2012 in order to further refine the Preferred Alternative, advance the roadway geometry, construction staging and identify feasible aesthetic treatments and community enhancements. The Final Design phase was completed in Spring 2015 and construction began in Fall 2015. The Construction phase will last approximately three and a half years.

Last updated date: October 21, 2020 3:50 PM