Attention Central Jersey drivers: Your next traffic nightmare is about to begin.

Starting Wednesday morning, Nov. 6, the state Department of Transportation will close Alexander Road between Route 1 and Faculty Road for about six months.

According to spokesman Steve Schapiro, the closure will allow the workers to rebuild a bridge over the Delaware & Raritan Canal. Mercer County crews will be replacing two bridges a short distance away on Alexander Street.

He said the DOT Bridge must be replaced because it was built in 1948 and is in poor condition, and one of the Mercer County bridges needs to be rebuilt because it was constructed in 1989 as a temporary span and is now at the end of its useful life.

“We’re going to be doing them at the same time concurrently to minimize the impact on the community and on traffic," Schapiro said.

Alexander Road is a major thoroughfare connecting to Princeton. The detour will take traffic up Route 1 to Washington Road, which connects to Faculty Road and then Alexander Road.

Because the area is normally congested, Route 295 commuters commuters should consider taking Route 206 or Princeton Pike.

Schapiro said because additional backups on Route 1 are expected, signal times will be adjusted to try and keep traffic moving as best as possible.

He suggested another way to avoid getting stuck in a big jam-up is to consider different options.

“Whether it’s adjusting your travel time, if you can leave a little bit earlier or later, if your company allows telecommuting or if they have other sites where you can work from, that’s an option," Schapiro said. "And carpooling is always a great idea or using mass transit.”

Schapiro said to help drivers avoid the worst backups into and out of Princeton, “we’re actually going to be putting 11 different portable message boards up with real-time travel times via the different routes.”

The $4.9 million DOT project and the $6.4 million Mercer County bridge replacements would normally take nine months to a year to complete but Schapiro said “we’re using what’s called accelerated bridge construction techniques. These are methods that allow us to get the work done more quickly than we otherwise could.”

You can contact reporter David Matthau at

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