The Missing Moves road project in Bellmawr NJ which will connect Route 42 to the southern portion of 295, is still on target to open before the end of the year according to NJDOT.
And because Route 55 begins off of Route 42, this effectively connects Route 55 to the southern segment of 295 also.. and improvements are being made there also to better support this!
First, in general press releases related to lane changes in the project NJDOT is still including a status statement of “The project is expected to be completed in late 2023.”
But 42Freeway.com also reached out directly to NJDOT representatives who provided us a high-level rundown of statuses on key aspects of the project.
Note: This project is separate from the Direct Connection “Road Collapse” project that has been under development for many, may years. This Missing Moves stated in 2020 and is basically on schedule.
Commuters along Route 42 and 295 have noticed the significant progress on the raised roadway and have been hoping it would’ve opened even sooner, but there is still 2 months of work remaining on the effort to widen the ground level bridges on Rt 295, which travels over the Big Timber Creek.
But overall, contractors have been doing an amazing job on this project and it appears to be inline with original estimates.
42Freeway.com has been following the Missing Moves project since the $180 Million contract was first awarded back in early 2020.
The name “Missing Moves” comes from the fact that despite the massive and complex Bellmawr area interchanges of Route 295 and Routes 42/76… there has never been a highway connecting Route 42 with the southern portions of Route 295 (below Bellmawr).
Simply, today you cannot drive via direct highways from…
- Route 42 North to 295 South, or
- Route 295 North to 42 South
Instead commuters have had to leave the highway and travel local roads for several miles, before getting back on to the highway. It’s been this way for 65 years!
Missing Moves will correct this… it will fix the Missing Movements!
Engineers and Contractors are developing a new raised highway span which runs alongside the Bellmawr landfills, and a portion of the small industrial area located off Creek Rd.
Readers regularly mix this Missing Moves project in with the larger (and longer) Direct Connection project, when this a completely independent effort and was able to start after the larger Direct Connection project, and will finish sooner (this year!)
Missing Moves – Main Ramp Mostly Done
The most significant portion of the raised highway is obviously… the raised highway! And overall the core heavy construction aspects appear to be complete although side rails and parapet walls along the ramps and some of the roadway are still being constructed.
From my drone imagery it appears to be a fully paved roadway from the start to the end of the ramps, and likely the contractors can drive the entire length of the raised highway!
Smaller details still remain In some areas of the roadway such as railings and lighting… and lane painting.
Route 42 Roadway Rebuild
Over on Route 42 Northbound before the area where Route 55 ramp connects, contractors have been working on that area of Route 42 which required splitting of the lanes so that the work could go down to the roadway foundation. I’m not clear on why this area under the overpass received extra attention.
For the most part the Missing Moves project is rebuilding a large portion of Route 42 from the Route 55 overpass to the Creek Road bridge in Bellmawr
In my visit this morning my drone picked up the freshly placed asphalt on the rightmost lane (under the overpass).
Once the Route 42 roadway is fully rebuilt, on the northbound side we should see 4 full lanes of traffic starting in Deptford around the Route 55 overpass, then with two lanes coming from Route 55… Route 42 will be FIVE lanes northbound until the new Missing Moves ramps in Bellmawr
So yes, when you are on Route 55 North and drive over the large overpass it will be two lanes, and the rightmost lane will be a straight run to Bellmawr’s new Missing Moves ramp!
On Route 42, final roadway reconstruction is in progress. This also includes paving, striping, signage, and landscaping. Construction on Route 42 is expected to be completed by the end of the year.NJDOT on the Route 42 roadway work,as part of the Missing Moves project
High Performance Thin Overlay – Ongoing
I want also call out that there is a separate Route 42 roadway surface project taking place on Route 42 on the south sections, between the Route 55 ramp and the AC Expressway start.
To be clear, this is not part of Missing Moves but will be taking place ahead of the Route 55 ramp area.
That project is a $24.5 million effort to repair the concrete roadway and preserve approximately 6 miles of pavement using High Performance Thin Overlay. This project includes paving all the ramps with the project limits and will further improve driving conditions by adding rumble strips and new signage.
Basically the Missing Moves project is taking care of rebuilding the north portion of Route 42, and the separate HPTO project is taking care of the improving the southern part.
This HPTO project for the more south portion of Route 42 will be completed in the summer of 2025.
Route 295 – Bridges Over Big Timber Creek
One aspect of the Missing Moves project still seeing more significant construction is the Route 295 ground level bridges which carry traffic over the Big Timber Creek.
The project calls for those two bridges to each be doubled in width to accommodate dedicated auxiliary lanes for cars entering and exiting the Missing Moves ramps at Rt 295. The Federal Government prefers that cars are able to maintain speed with moving on/off to a another highway, which in this case requires much longer “exit” roads at the ramps.
But the hard work appears to be done as the new bridge extensions appear to be fully in place. This required new support columns to be developed within the Creek itself!
But for the remaining aspects in this section, NJDOT recently described the remaining efforts there as:
The parapet and approach slabs for the I-295 Bridge over Big Timber Creek are currently in construction. Once work is completed, final paving, striping, sign installation, and landscaping will take place on I-295. Construction on I-295 is expected to be completed in November 2023.”NJDOT on the Bridges over Big Timber Creek segment of the Missing Moves project, Bellmawr
If you weren’t aware, a parapet in this case is the concrete lower sidewalls of the bridge and roadway.
I believe “approach slabs” relates how the new bridge structures smoothly connect to the rest of the Route 295 roadway.
In my drone imagery from yesterday you can see that workers are currently laying asphalt on Route 295 North ahead of Missing Moves ramp… this is for the new “auxiliary” lane for cars heading on to Missing Moves and heading towards Route 42.
Many readers have also asked about the Creek Road bridge and when the roadway lines would be repainted in their final centered position… but I neglected to ask about that!
But we are getting near the end of the project and should expect this to happen this fall. Yesterday I did see a Dewberry truck parked on the Creek Road overpass… maybe planning the lane shifts to come?
If I had to bet, I’d say the Creek Road new bridge has it’s lanes properly configured by the end of October. Completely my best guess.
Missing Moves: When Will We Drive On It?
So while we do not have an exact date of the opening of Missing Moves, from NJDOT commentary we know:
- Expected to open before the end of 2023
- Route 295/Big Timber Creek aspect is expected to be competed by mid-November
So that gives us a 6-week window for the roadway to open.
But I’ll add that its probably unlikely that they open the roadway in the last 2 weeks of the year with holiday vacations of personnel involved in the project, so I would think that reduces the targeted opening window to the 4 weeks around Thanksgiving… between mid-November and mid-December.
But don’t hold me to that… that’s just me piecing together the facts that were provided!
Links and Locations
Missing Moves Project
Route 42 and Route 295
Bellmawr, Deptford, Westville