The $180 million “Missing Moves” connector road project in Bellmawr NJ opens Tuesday November 28th!
Final inspections took place today on Monday, and Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti today announced the official “opening” in a press release announcement. The project was completed on-time, and on-budget.
UPDATE: I Drove the roadway a 6am on opening day, and videoed it! Video added to the bottom.
For the first time in 65 years since the North-South Freeway opened, these ramps will allow commuters to travel directly from Route 42 North to 295 South, and also the reverse direction.. Route 295 North to 42 South!
For all these years, commuters have had to exit the highways and travel local roads before jumping back on to their destination highway.
For clarity, this project is NOT the much larger Direct Connection project. That project is still under construction, and you can read an overview of Direct Connection and Missing Moves in my Sept 2022 article
Over the last few weeks commuters and 42Freeway readers noted that the core overhead roadway and ramps appeared ready to go… but construction crews have been working diligently on the final ”punch list” items such as the final asphalt layers on Routes 42 and 295, road line painting, as well as landscaping.
The opening timeframe (hour) of the project is not pinpointed exactly, but after 9pm tonight there will be some lane closures (Rt 42 right lanes) as crews remove the coverings on the overhead roadway signage, and move the ramp barriers out of the way.
With those final aspects out of the way, commuters are “good to go” for the new Missing Moves connector! The first cars could be traveling on the new roadway in the very early morning hours of Tuesday.
The completion of this project is a huge benefit to commuters in the South Jersey area who for 65 years would have to exit off the highways and travel through the local roads of Bellmawr, Brooklawn, Westville and others, to then jump back onto the other highway where they were headed to.
If you factor in stop signs, traffic signals, and 25 mph local speed limits… just traveling from 42-North to 295-South was was likely a 15 to 20 minute delay or more!
Every commuter has their own tricks for navigating around this prior lack of highway. One commenter on one of my YouTube videos says when they’d travel 42 North and needed to get to 295S, they would drive to Market Street exit (Gloucester) then jump back on 42 again but heading South, and catch the 295-South exit there.
Others drive Creek Rd in Bellmawr, but if it rained during high tide and the Brooklawn Circles flooded… that local road path could easily turn into a commuter nightmare of much longer. Yes it’s surprising that even the Brooklawn Circles played a role in the convoluted path that commuters would have to take simply to get to another crossing highway!
The opening of Missing Moves is also a huge win for NJDOT and it’s contractor South State Inc, as the project started on time, and with no noticeable delays it moved full speed through all of the construction phases. Most important… the project opened on time in it’s original estimated timeframe.
My March 2020 article covered when the contract was awarded for the effort. At that time I shared the NJDOT estimate of the new Missing Moves connector roadway opening “late 2023”.
And here we are in November of 2023 celebrating the opening of the new roadway! On-time, and on-budget!
An added bonus for commuters is that the Route 55 North overpass which travels over top of Route 42 (and then connects to northbound 42)… has been repainted to have two full lanes all the way through!
Previously, Route 55 North would merge two lanes into one, just ahead of the overpass and connection to Route 42 North… which regularly caused traffic backups.
With the opening of Missing Moves, Route 42 North has been reconfigured to support an extra lane for a short stretch… so that both lanes of 55 North will move directly into the lower level Route 42.
If you are on the right-most lane of 55 North and stay straight, the lane will lead you directly onto the new Missing Moves ramp at 42 North.
Another change (but less impactful) was the rebuild of the Creek Rd Bridge in Bellmawr, which crosses over Route 295.
That local bridge was rebuilt to be higher, to allow the Missing Moves ramps at Route 295 to pass underneath Creek Road.
An interesting and but necessary twist (literally) is that the fully completed Creek Road bridge now has a slight bend to it on the North side (closest to Bellmawr Lake). This was necessary because with the project required that local road access be maintained in both directions at all times of the rebuild, and to facilitate this (within the limited space available) the engineers designed a roadway that was shifted over one lane from the prior location.
Another significant aspect of the Missing Moves project was on Route 295 where it crosses over the Big Timber Creek.
With the Missing Moves ramps connecting with Route 295 in close proximity to the Big Timber Creek bridges… the design required that both of those bridges (North and Southbound of Route 295) be significantly widened to support dedicated acceleration/deceleration lanes on Route 295.
This aspect of the project was a significant challenge due new support columns needed to be developed within the waterway itself, so it was one of the final aspects of the project to be completed.
The new Missing Moves roadway does not have a Route Number to identify it, and is seen as extended exit ramps between the two roadways.
42Freeway Other Coverage of Missing Moves
I have been covering the Missing Moves project since 2019 and have numerous articles on the project. If you would like to review Missing Moves specific content you can find it here.
Additionally, if you’d like to read about all of my Road/Transportation coverage including the Direct Connection Route 295 project, you can check out the superset of road project coverage here.
Full NJDOT Press Release:
New Missing Moves ramps between
I-295 and Route 42 to open on Tuesday
Project completed on time and on budget
(Trenton) – New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti today announced the opening of the new ramps connecting I-295 northbound to Route 42 southbound, and Route 42 northbound to I-295 southbound. These ramps for the first time will allow for the direct movement of traffic between the two roadways and are commonly known as the “Missing Moves.”
The ramps are scheduled to be open before the morning commute tomorrow, Tuesday, November 28. In order to open the ramps, the right lanes on I-295 northbound and Route 42 northbound are scheduled to be closed beginning at 9 p.m. tonight, Monday, November 27 until 5 a.m. tomorrow, Tuesday, November 28. The closures are necessary to complete striping, install raised pavement markers (RPM), uncover new signs and remove construction barrels. Over the next few weeks there may be overnight closures on I-295 and Route 42 for minor work.
The $180 million federally funded I-295/Route 42 Missing Moves project began in March 2020 and is being completed on time and on budget. The project, which has been discussed for decades, will ease congestion and improve safety for the nearly 150,000 motorists who travel through this corridor daily. In addition to the construction of the new ramps, the project also included:
- Demolition and reconstruction of the Creek Road Bridge over I-295 between Route 42 and Almonesson Road, which was completed and opened to traffic in September 2022. Installation of electrical conduit, sidewalks and fencing was completed in September 2023.
- Redecking and widening of the I-295 Bridges over Big Timber Creek, which was necessary to accommodate traffic taking the I-295 northbound exit ramp to Route 42 southbound, and to allow more room for traffic coming from Route 42 northbound to safely merge onto I-295 southbound.
- Relocating the Route 42 northbound Exit 14 interchange ramps with Creek Road/Leaf Avenue, which was permanently closed in July 2022 and the new Route 42 northbound Exit 14B interchange with Benigno Boulevard was opened.
- Restriping the Route 55 northbound ramp to Route 42 northbound to provide two lanes of traffic instead of one lane, which will ease congestion.