Route 295 Direct Connection project — When will it end?
It’s been going on for years and there’s no end in sight.
Work continues on the Route 295 Direct Connection project, where Routes 295 and 76 come together with State Road 42, just south of Camden and Philadelphia.
“Anyone who’s driven through there knows that 295, basically, you have to get off of it and then get back on it, if you’re heading northbound or southbound,” said Steve Schapiro, a spokesman for the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
The project involves building a six-lane overpass that will run about eight-tenths of a mile, and connect both parts of Route 295, eliminating the need to get on and off the highway.
“Overall, the project includes 12 new or reconstructed bridges, a couple of dozen retaining walls that are being built, some noise walls being built, as well as that main line piece connecting the roadway, so it is a very complex project," Schapiro said.
So when will it be completed?
“Construction began in the winter of 2013, and it’s expected to be complete in 2024," he said.
It's the main interchange for traffic heading into Philadelphia from South Jersey, and “we don’t have the luxury to close highways to rebuild or to make improvements. We have to keep those highways open and traffic flowing throughout construction," Schapiro said.
“The projects are designed in a way that we can maintain as many travel lanes as possible while we’re doing the work, and we’ve been able to do that for motorists who drive through that area," he said.
He noted as earlier phases of the $900 million project were completed, three bridges had to be demolished then completely rebuilt.
Schapiro said Route 295 was originally designed back in the 1950s to facilitate traffic getting into Philadelphia, so there were approaches built from the north and south, but the highway was never connected.
“295 was not a heavy traveled north-south Route at the time, so it was sort of an after-thought, a secondary thought," he said.
For now, Schapiro is advising motorists to stay cool, calm and collected.
“Slow down when you’re driving through the construction zone. It is designed to keep traffic flowing through the area while we’re doing construction. Be patient as you get through that area," he said.
But he added “when the project is done it’s really going to be great.
"It’ll ease congestion and really improve safety in that area," he said.
You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com.
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