A $57+ million dollar New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) project to upgrade a core stretch of Route 42/Black Horse Pike through Washington Township is now set to start construction in the Spring of 2025.
This project was initially brought to the public back in 2019 during a Public Information Center (PIC) meeting, as at the time it was expected to start soon after that.
But the COVID pandemic and it’s impact on construction projects shifted the timing of several area projects, pushing this one back several years.
I reached out to NJDOT representatives for an update on the project scope and timing, on the project they officially call “Route 42, Kennedy Avenue to Atlantic City Expressway Project”
They identified this as a safety improvement project, and to me it seems very similar to what is taking place currently for Route 70 in Cherry Hill.
For the Washington Township section of Route 42 (Black Horse Pike) the project scope covers more than four miles of roadway through the core Washington Township commercial corridor, including a small portion of the roadway in Williamstown.
The project will mill and repave more than four miles of the roadway.
In addition the shoulders will be widened, upgrades will be made to guardrail and sidewalks, and ADA compliant curb ramps will be installed.
Drainage improvements are also planned along the roadway, with a focus on intersections at American Boulevard intersection and Fries Mill Road.
But what really grabbed my attention are the intersection improvements.
10 intersections along Route 42 will be upgraded to include adaptive/synchronized traffic signals, which are intended to improve traffic flow through the area.
Also called out for additional intersection improvements were the left turn movements in the section of roadway between Ganttown and Johnson roads.
Route 42, Kennedy to AC Expressway Project Timeline
NJDOT is working on the final design of the project and expect to put it out to bid in the Fall of 2024 (18 months from now).
Construction is expected to start in the Spring of 2025 and take 3 years to complete… 2028.
The project will be completed through a staged construction process, and it is anticipated that two lanes of traffic will be maintained in each direction during the construction.
So with 2 years to go before construction starts, NJDOT tells me they will hold another Public Information Center session after the final designs are completed, and before construction starts.
Route 42 Washington Township NJDOT : Increased Project Area
As mentioned the full project area is more than four miles of Route 42 in Washington Township starting from the area where the more local Black Horse Pike section veers off of the Route 42 highway, down to Kennedy Ave which is just past the busy Cross Keys Rd intersection (in Williamstown).
NJDOT listened to feedback from local officials and the public, and this project was extended further down Route 42 to include the Cross Keys Rd. intersection
In fact, recently the Washington Township Police Department’s Facebook page announced they had been working with NJDOT regarding improvements to the Cross Keys Rd. intersection where the Police Department has seen numerous accidents and traffic difficulties.
Better Traffic Flow Means More Commercial Growth?
So at the start of the article, I call out the roadway improvements of the project such as a completely new roadway surface, wider shoulders, and drainage improvements
But what grabbed my attention are the plans to upgrade the traffic light signals to the latest adaptive/synchronized technology, as well as several intersection movement upgrades.
NJDOT calls out that these improvements “will improve the flow of traffic”.
And we all know that the roadway would benefit from traffic improvements!
Anyone who has driven through Washington Township on the Black Horse Pike has experienced some frustration of slow-moving traffic through this very important commercial corridor through town.
I think it’s fair to say that in many areas of our region the success (or failure) of a commercial district is closely tied to the adjacent roadway infrastructure and traffic flow.
Don’t get me wrong.,, I am the first to defend the Black Horse Pike commercial corridor by reminding people of all the awesome new businesses that have moved in such as At Home, the Panda Express/Jersey Mike’s building, the Luna Rossa Restaurant expansion.. and the Cross Keys Commons shopping center is thriving!
But at the same time I do wonder that if the upcoming project results in improved traffic flow in the commercial district, will it have the bonus effect of further boosting commercial investments in Washington Township?
To be very clear, NJDOT does not make any promises related to commercial impacts of it’s roadway projects.
But with the addition of adaptive traffic signals, several improved intersections and additional traffic cameras.. let’s hope that this project moves traffic through the roadway more quickly… and creates an even more positive commercial development environment for businesses looking to move into the Black Horse Pike area in Washington Township1