The Department of Transportation is about to begin a major realignment project where Interstates 78 and 287 meet and that could impact drivers for years.

In the next few weeks (no specific date has been announced yet), the agency will start work to reconfigure the ramp from Route 78 east onto Route 287 North.

“The project is scheduled to be done in four different stages and it should be complete in the winter of 2019,” said DOT spokesman Steve Schapiro.

The 78 ramp leads vehicles into the left lane of 287 North, but “what we’re going to be doing is actually realigning that ramp in a way that will have traffic now enter 287 northbound on the right side, to prevent the weaving motions and accidents that have occurred.”

The state will construct two new bridges over 287 to create a cloverleaf loop.

"It’s a very complex traffic pattern in that area, very high traffic volume, so it does lead to congestion and some crashes, and so this should help traffic flow better as well as reduce the number of accidents in the area," he said

The project realigns Exit 22A, which connects to Routes 202/206 and Pluckemin, directly north of where 78 and 287 intersect.

“The idea is to give some more space to prevent cars exiting onto 202 southbound from stacking up on 287,” he said.

During construction, the state plans to keep all lanes open during peak travel periods, but there may be some overnight or weekend closures.

“Anytime we have closures we will notify the public of that," Schapiro said.

The project also includes plans to realign the ramp for Exit 21A to Route 78 East toward New York City.

The ramp will be moved it a bit south to make room for the loop ramp that will connect 78 East to 287 North.

He said at the very end of the $24.5 million project, which is completely federally funded, the DOT will demolish part of the existing ramp, but another section of it will continue to be used.

Contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com.