NJDOT recently adjusted the lanes of Route 42 in Bellmawr to reserve the interior lanes for construction crews. The crews will be developing a center column in the median, to support the overhead roadway of the Missing Moves project.
We expect them to start this work soon. It’s beneficial that the timing has worked out to be just at the summer Jersey Shore traffic winds down.
If you’ve traveled Route 42 near the Bellmawr landfill you’ve clearly seen the quickly rising new “Missing Moves” roadway aimed at crossing the highway, and how it stops short of going over Route 42.
Did you know that Route 42 in Bellmawr changed around 25 years ago? Lanes where added and the center median was reduced significantly?
Information on that below, as well as 42Freeway created depictions of approximately where the new column will be placed, and how the changes in 1997 made this seemingly simple support column, just a little more challenging today!
“Missing Moves” is an $180 million NJDOT project in Bellmawr NJ which will connect Route 42 and Route 295, completing access between the roads that never existed. At the bottom of this article I give a short overview and links to our other content, for additional explanation.
Keep reading and scrolling!
With Exit 14 Move Completed, Time For the Column
Almost all of the other roadway support beams in the Missing Moves project are up.
The core reason the Route 42 overpass bridge has not been started is the that center column is needed for support, and before that could be started NJDOT needed to complete the new Exit 14 work.
Completion of the relocated Exit 14 over the summer made it easier and safer for the traffic lane shift away from the center of Route 42… giving workers the space the need in the center.
In the 42Freeway image below we are looking South of where the new median column is going in, and directly in front of us is the next Exit 14 into the Bellmawr Industrial Park
The red shows the protected center median area for contractors and trucks. The yellow highlighted area is a new lane on the outside to accommodated the shifted traffic.
This is why Exit 14 needed to be completed and opened before construction crews could work on the center median
Missing Moves Over Route 42 – Center Column Squeeze!
Adding to the overall challenge of this new support column (to be developed), Route 42 has seen upgrades over the decades which has significantly reduced the size of the center median.
Today the median is only a few feet across separating the North and South lanes of traffic. It’s really just enough space to place the steel divider walls plus a few extra feet.
When originally developed the area of the Route 42 roadway through Bellmawr had a much wider grass median strip similar to how it is further south in Deptford and Gloucester Township.
If that large center median was still in place today through Bellmawr, it would’ve made construction of today’s needed Missing Moves center support column much easier!
In Google satellite images from 1995, while very blurry, you can make out how much wider the median was at the time. It was literally a grass center median requiring mowing!
In our 42Freeway depiction below we’ve married two photos; one from 1995 and another from 2022. We’ve added some coloring to show how the median width was reduced about 25 years ago.
Beginning in 1996 a project was completed on Route 42 which added additional lanes in the Bellmawr area. On the southbound side it helped move traffic heading to Route 55 and southern destinations like the Jersey Shore.
Today on the Southbound side of Route 42 as you enter the area of the Deptford Mall the left two lanes merge into one… obviously indicating the shift back to the original three lanes.
Back in the Bellmawr area Route 42 has been five lanes in each direction for some portions, as on the South side direction an additional “expressway” lane was added to ease traffic connecting to Rt 55, and on the North side direction an additional lane helped get traffic shifted over for Rt 295.
All of this means is there are just a few precious feet in the center of Route 42 for this new column!
That being said there is plenty of space for the completed column, but the workers need space to construct it… and to park trucks.
So today we have a temporary lane shift which gives workers 4 lanes (two in each direction) plus the small median space, to develop the column.
What is Missing Moves Bellmawr?
Well it is NOT the Direct Connection Wall Collapse project.
Missing moves is a $180 million dollar road project in Bellmawr New Jersey to allow access direct access from Route 42 to the Southern sections of Route 295.
Currently travelers cannot drive directly on highways to travel across these roads to the south segments of 295, and cars must leave the highways and travel the local roadways to get to their destination.
Currently this adds a significant amount of time to traveling and increases traffic on local roadways.
The “Missing Moves” project will run along the edge of the Bellmawr landfills and connect Route 42 to the South portions of Route 295 in New Jersey.
NJDOT has some commentary on Missing Moves as part of the “big sister” project, Direct Connection
42Freeway’s most recent coverage from May 2022 is a full photo tour AND Youtube video!