EWING, NJ – After two previous postponements, the recently completed downstream roundabout at the I-295/NJ Route 29 interchange is expected to be fully operational in time for tomorrow morning’s peak job commuting period (Thursday, Nov. 8), the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission announced today.
The single-lane roundabout is off the first exit ramp on the New Jersey side of the Scudder Falls Bridge. Once fully put into service, the roundabout will serve multiple traffic movements between I-295 SB and Route 29 NB and SB.
A series of overnight ramp closures and detours will be implemented between 10 p.m. tonight and 6 a.m. tomorrow to transition the roundabout into full service. A portion of the roundabout has been open to limited travel movement since August.
It is the first of two roundabouts that will be constructed as part of a thorough reconstruction of the I-295/Route 29 interchange as part of the Scudder Falls Bridge Replacement Project.
Construction on the other roundabout – on the interchange’s upstream side – is expected to begin early next year.
Downstream Roundabout Description
The downstream roundabout is designed in accordance with Federal Highway Administration guidelines. It will have a single travel lane with a 150-foot outer diameter.
As previously noted, travel within the roundabout will be counterclockwise. The lanes and ramps approaching the roundabout will have triangular splitter islands to guide the direction of traffic and control speeds at the access points.
The roundabout’s center island has low-height-shrub landscaping and is surrounded by a concrete truck apron. This raised apron provides extra space for larger vehicles. The roundabout can therefore accommodate a typical five-axle tractor-trailer, although such vehicles rarely use the interchange due to travel restrictions for trucks along Route 29.
The new roundabout replaces a portion of the “spaghetti bowl” of ramp merges and at-grade crossings that have confused generations of motorists at the nearly 60-year interchange.
The New Jersey Department of Transportation Final Step 1 Engineering Report for I-95/New Jersey Route 29/New Jersey Route 175 Interchange — November 1995 – determined the interchange consisted of 19 ramp mergers and 7 at-grade intersections prior to the project.
The Scudder Falls Bridge Replacement Project’s Environmental Assessment (EA) released in November 2009 cited the interchange’s safety, operational and geometric deficiencies: “The configurations of the current bridge and adjoining interchange merges do not meet current design standards. The NJ Route 29 Interchange experienced the highest number of crashes of the locations in the project area…”
The EA described the planned interchange’s redesign and corresponding incorporation of roundabouts as follows:
“This design is preferred by NJDOT (New Jersey Department of Transportation) and viewed as the best option from safety and traffic operations perspectives. This design will retain the bypasses for Route 29 northbound and southbound through traffic and will allow free-flow traffic through the interchange, as preferred design does not include any traffic signals or stop sign-controlled intersections.”
More information on the Scudder Falls Bridge Replacement Project is available at www.scudderfallsbridge.com.