TRENTON — New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) officials today announced that the final phase of the Route 18 extension from River Road to Interstate 287 in Piscataway is now underway.
The $28 million project will retrofit the existing Hoes Lane/Centennial Avenue corridor to convert these local roadways into the final portion of Route 18, extending the four-lane arterial state highway approximately 2.5 miles to its new northern terminus at I-287.
Hoes Lane, where Route 18 currently terminates, and the portion of Centennial Avenue included in the project, are currently owned and maintained by Piscataway Township. These sections of the township roads will become part of the state highway system.
“Completing the extension of Route 18 through Middlesex County will upgrade the safety and operational performance of the entire transportation system in this area, allowing more efficient movement of goods and people in central New Jersey,” said NJDOT Commissioner James Simpson.
NJDOT’s contractor, Intercounty Paving, has begun initial construction zone set-up, site surveying and tree clearing operations. Construction warning signage is also being installed.
NJDOT has staged the construction to minimize the impacts to residents and motorists in Piscataway. Two lanes will be maintained on existing Route 18, Hoes Lane and Centennial Avenue during peak periods. Single-lane closures will be allowed during overnight and off-peak hours, but one lane will be maintained on each roadway at all times during construction.
The extension of Route 18 will require the rehabilitation of 2.5 miles of existing local road network, along with upgrades to 20 at-grade intersections and other various geometric revisions. The existing, deteriorated roads will be completely rebuilt significantly improving roadway quality and motorist safety on the new stretch of Route 18.
The completed portion of Route 18 will feature new auxiliary turn lanes at numerous intersections, drainage improvements, new signing, striping, guide rail and major utility relocations. Pedestrian and bicyclist mobility will be improved through the addition of new sidewalks, multi-use paths and two new pedestrian overpasses at Morris Avenue and Behmer Road, near Piscataway High School.
Additional improvements will be made to the local roadway system in Piscataway including the realignment of the Hoes Lane West intersection with Route 18 to the north, forming a new cross intersection with Morris Avenue. A new roundabout will be built at the intersection of Knightsbridge Road and Telcordia Drive.
A continuous four-lane, arterial-highway extending through Piscataway will provide for improved access to and from Rutgers University, local medical centers, high technology/research firms and the multiple warehouse distributor centers located in the area wishing to access I-287.
NJDOT has worked closely with Piscataway Township, Middlesex County and other stakeholders to advance this project. Multiple Public Information Centers have been held to take comments on the proposed improvements. NJDOT anticipates opening the completed Route 18 extension in summer 2014.
Variable message signs will be installed around the site to inform motorists of pending construction and temporary lane closures necessary for night time intersection work. Real time travel and construction information is available online at www.511nj.org
In late-2004, NJDOT completed the $78 million first phase of the Route 18 extension program. That project extended Route 18 from River Road to Hoes Lane and included the construction of a new alignment with new interchanges at River Road, Rutgers Busch Campus and Metlars Lane/Livingston Campus. Prior to the construction of this project, Route 18 ended at River Road on the southeast side of the Raritan River.
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