If you are planning an early getaway for the Memorial Day holiday weekend, a planned temporary closure of Route 78 could slow you down late Thursday morning.

Route 78 will be closed for 15 minutes starting 11 a.m. in both directions west of Exit 11 (Route 173/W Portal/Pattenberg) for a rock blasting test, according to the New Jersey Department of Transportation. The closure is dependent on the weather and other factors.

It's also a preview of closures that will happen all summer long on Route 78 eanstbound so traffic can be shifted towards the median so a work area in order to create a work zone on the right shoulder. Once completed the work will move to the westbound lanes.

The work is part of a $29.8 million federally-funded project to mitigate rockfall hazards along a section of Route 78 eastbound and westbound between milepost 9.96 and milepost 10.55 in Hunterdon County. Rock scaling will cut back the slope and excavation to widen the catch area to prevent rocks from potentially reaching the highway.

The entire project will be done by fall 2023.

Dan Alexander is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at dan.alexander@townsquaremedia.com

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