New Jersey Road Network

By | October 13, 2022

New Jersey highway network with toll roads in green.

New Jersey has an extensive road network to meet the traffic demand resulting from its spatial layout. There are two major toll roads for long-haul traffic in the state, the New Jersey Turnpike, and the Garden State Parkway. In addition, there are a large number of Interstate Highways, and several US Highways and State Routes that have been developed into highways. Only the New Jersey Turnpike connects both parts of New Jersey, making it New Jersey’s main highway. The important Interstate 95 runs partially over the turnpike. A number of corridors have very high traffic lanes, such as the 14 lanes of the Turnpike along Newark and the 21 lanes of the Driscoll Bridge over the Raritan River.

Road management

The state highway authority is the New Jersey Department of Transportation, abbreviated NJDOT. It manages 3,728 miles of road, relatively little given the population, but that’s because New Jersey road management is decentralized, many of the secondary roads are county roads. The state operates 2,417 bridges, including 22 moveable bridges. The New Jersey road network is facing serious deferred maintenance. In 2009, 50% of the lane kilometers were in poor condition and only 20% in good condition, although the proportion of roads in good condition is increasing. Many infrastructure from the 1920s and 1930s, such as large bridges, require large-scale renovations.

  • Bittranslators: State overview of New Jersey, including geography, economy, population and history as well as introduction to major cities of New Jersey.

Interstate Highways

Several Interstate Highways cross the state. Interstate 76 runs just a few miles across the state, around Camden. Interstate 78 forms an east-west route through the north of the state, from Philipsburg to Newark and the Holland Tunnel to Manhattan. The easternmost portion of this is a toll road as part of the New Jersey Turnpike Extension. I-78 has a number of traffic lights in Jersey City. Interstate 80 runs a little further north as an east-west route and is mainly a connection to the hinterland, western New Jersey there are no larger places on the route until you reach the Midwest. It is the main connection to Cleveland, Chicago and places further west. Interstate 95 forms a north-south route through the center and north of the state, but has a missing section, the highway bypasses the capital Trenton but only then starts again at New Brunswick and runs through the suburbs of New York City. I-95 has a split between Kearny and Ridgefield. The New York border is crossed via the George Washington Bridge.

In addition, there are some auxiliary routes. Interstate 195 forms an east-west route through the center of the state, from Trenton to the coast at Belmar. Interstate 276 is a short eastern extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike north of Philadelphia. Interstate 278 is a route through New York City that begins just in New Jersey and crosses the Goethals Bridge to Staten Island. Interstate 280 is a suburban connection to Newark and Interstate 287 forms the western bypass of the New York City metropolitan area. The Interstate 295 is a highway through the eastern suburbs of Philadelphia and parallels the New Jersey Turnpike. Interstate 676 also runs just a few miles through New Jersey at Camden.

The state’s major toll roads, the Atlantic City Expressway, New Jersey Turnpike, and Garden State Parkway, largely do not have an Interstate Highway number, only the northern portion of the New Jersey Turnpike is numbered I-95.

  • Deluxesurveillance: Nickname of New Jersey as The Garden State. Also covers geography, history, economy, politics and administration of the state.

US Highways

Numerous US Highways cross the state. Most of these are of secondary importance due to the dense network of highways. US 1 and US 9 are major city highways in northeastern cities, US 1 is also a highway-like connection from Trenton to New Brunswick that fills the missing link of I-95. US 9 follows the shoreline and has a ferry service to Lewes, Delaware. Many other US Highways are often equipped with a minimum of four lanes, but mainly handle local traffic.

State Highways

A network of state highways complement the toll roads, Interstate Highways and US Highways. They are mostly of local importance, although some state highways have been developed as freeways. The state highways are numbered from 1 to 495, although above 187 most numbers are skipped. The toll roads have an administrative number that is not signposted. Major routes often have one or two digits and secondary routes often have three digits. The road numbers were signposted from 1922 but were renumbered in 1927 with the introduction of US Highways. A second renumbering followed in 1953.

State highways that are a freeway;

  • NJ 3 between Clifton and Union City
  • NJ 4 between Hackensack and Fort Lee
  • NJ 18 between Sayerwood South and Belmar
  • NJ 21 between Paterson and Newark
  • NJ 24 between Morris Plains and Union
  • NJ 29 by Trenton
  • NJ 33 along Freehold
  • NJ 55 between Runnemede and Millville
  • NJ 208 between Oakland and Paramus
  • NJ 495 from Union City to the Lincoln Tunnel

Toll roads

The New Jersey Turnpike, the widest toll road in the world.

New Jersey has numerous toll roads. The best known are the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway. The New Jersey Turnpike handles through traffic along the East Coast of the United States and is a bypass for the Philadelphia region but cuts through the suburbs of New York City. The turnpike is wide, the northern part is fully equipped with 12 to 14 lanes and has a long parallel structure. The eastern portion of I-78 is part of the New Jersey Turnpike Extension. The Garden State Parkway runs north-south, initially following the urbanized coastal region for a long time, before running more inland from Perth Amboy through the satellite towns and suburbs of the northeastern part of the state, and with an extension in New York, connecting with the New York State Thruway.

In addition, an extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike extends into New Jersey, over which I-276 runs. This connects to the New Jersey Turnpike. The Atlantic City Expressway is a toll road from Camden to Atlantic City, connecting the metropolitan area of Philadelphia with the coastal strip.

Most bridges over the Delaware River on the Pennsylvania border are subject to tolls, both the major bridges in the Philadelphia area and the smaller bridges in the north of the state. The toll is only levied toward Delaware and Pennsylvania. The bridges are predominantly under the management of the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission. [2] This committee manages 20 bridges, including 7 toll bridges and 13 toll-free bridges, including 2 pedestrian bridges. The iconic Delaware Memorial Bridge is also a toll road, operated by the Delaware River and Bay Authority. In and around Philadelphia, several toll bridges are operated by the Delaware River Port Authority. [4] The toll bridge from the Pennsylvania Turnpike Extension to New Jersey is under the control of both states.

In the New York City area, tolls are payable on all bridges and tunnels. From north to south, these are the George Washington Bridge , Lincoln Tunnel, Holland Tunnel, Bayonne Bridge, Goethals Bridge, and Outerbridge Crossing.

Bridges

There are many bridges in New Jersey. Several iconic suspension bridges are located on the state border, such as the George Washington Bridge, Delaware Memorial Bridge, the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, and the Walt Whitman Bridge. In addition, there are numerous smaller bridges over the Delaware River. The coastal region south of New York City has a large number of bridges over the swamps and lagoons to the barrier islands. This coastal strip is densely populated and is completely dependent on dozens of bridges for access. Special is the Driscoll Bridge of the Garden State Parkway over the Raritan River. With 15 lanes, this is the widest bridge in the world, with six lanes next to it Edison Bridge, allowing a total of 21 lanes to cross the Raritan River at this location. Also special is the long Pulaski Skyway from Newark to Jersey City, a 16 kilometer long road connection with various bridges and viaducts over the rivers, wetlands and industrial areas between the two cities. This is one of two access roads to the Holland Tunnel.

History

The history of New Jersey’s highway system begins with its river crossings, especially those to New York City. The first road connection, the Holland Tunnel, opened in 1927. The Goethals Bridge and Outerbridge Crossing followed in 1928, the Bayonne Bridge and the George Washington Bridge in 1931, and finally the Lincoln Tunnel in 1937. No new river crossings have been built between New Jersey and New York City since then. In the 1940s, a number of connecting roads were constructed as highways. The first real highway was the Garden State Parkway, the first part of which was opened in 1950. Construction of the New Jersey Turnpike began that same year. The New Jersey Turnpike was completed by 1952, and the last section of the Garden State Parkway opened in 1957. In 1956, the eastern portion of what is now Interstate 78 opened as a toll road between the Garden State Parkway and the Lincoln Tunnel.

The creation of the Interstate Highway system in 1956 freed up money for the construction of toll-free highways. Most Interstate Highways opened during the 1960s. By 1973, the entire Interstate 80 was completed. By 1974, Interstate 95 was more or less complete in its current form, except for a short link on the north side of Trenton that didn’t open until 1995. The most prominent missing link of the Interstate Highway system is in New Jersey, namely the missing link of the Somerset Freeway, which should have become I-95 between Trenton and New Brunswick. As compensation, US 1 has been opened with 2×3 lanes and grade separated intersections, while I-95 has been routed eastward over the New Jersey Turnpike.

In New Jersey, too, there were projects that were significantly delayed. For example, the last section of Interstate 280 opened in 1980 and the last link of I-78 did not open until 1989 around Philipsburg on the Pennsylvania border. The construction of the New York ring road, Interstate 287, was also delayed, the last part only opened to traffic here in 1994.

New Jersey’s highway network expanded more significantly after the 1970s than in neighboring states of New York and Pennsylvania, where the highway network is currently largely identical to that of the mid-1970s. Many highways in New Jersey have been widened, making New Jersey quite a contrast with New York City and Philadelphia. Despite this, there is a lot of deferred maintenance in New Jersey, many highways are in bad condition. The widest corridor is the New Jersey Turnpike, especially the portion that is double-numbered with I-95 in the north of the state. This highway has 4×3 lanes over a large distance, and is one of the widest corridors in the United States. The Garden State Parkway also has some very wide stretches, especially south of Newark.

As of November 1, 2016, the fuel tax in New Jersey has increased significantly. New Jersey had always been the second cheapest state in the country as excise taxes had not been increased since 1988, but had become the sixth most expensive state after the increase in 2016. With the higher fuel tax, more money must be made available for transport infrastructure, but the increase also largely eliminates tank tourism, which is negative for tax revenues.

Congestion

Congestion is common in New Jersey, particularly on connections to New York, such as the George Washington Bridge, Holland, and Lincoln Tunnels, and the Driscoll Bridge over the Raritan River. In general, however, traffic can flow better, there are sufficient lanes in important places, such as at large work sites, the ports of Jersey City and Newark Airport. Long queues are an exception. In addition, during holiday periods, it can get bogged down on roads to, from, and along the coast, such as the Atlantic City Expressway and the Garden State Parkway.

New Jersey Road Network