If you live or work in Central Jersey, you have probably driven through what seems like a never-ending maze of orange cones and barriers on Route 1 South near the Quaker Bridge mall.

The Department of Transportation has been out there for years, working on a $15.8 million project that’s designed to make it easier and safer for drivers to get into and out of shopping centers.

According to DOT spokesman Steve Schapiro, crews are adding two lanes between Nassau Park Boulevard and the ramp to Interstate 295 North.

“We’re constructing a median to separate the express from the local lanes,” he said. “If you’re going through you’ll stay to the left. If you want to go to any of the shopping centers including the Quaker Bridge Mall, you would stay to the right.”

Currently, there is nothing separating the three existing lanes.

Schapiro said the goal of the median is to “help traffic flow a little bit better, so that through traffic will continue on and then to prevent crashes, cars weaving in and out of traffic.”

Over the years there have been numerous accidents as cars and trucks rumble down the highway, while others attempt to exit into a shopping mall or get onto Route 1 from numerous entrance ramps.

Driving through the work zone has been hazardous, especially at night because cone configurations and make-shift entrance and exit ramps keep changing and visibility can be challenging.

Schapiro said this project is nearing completion.

“We began this project back in the spring of 2018 and I would expect it to be finished this fall,” he said last week.

You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com