New Brunswick, NJ, State Route 18

NJ Route 18 Overpass Bridge
New Jersey Route 18 – Sections 2F, 7E, 11H

New Brunswick, New Jersey, United States

Project owner: New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT)

Project type: Roads

Budget: $100 million - $500 million

Project description: The Route 18 project was a large-scale, corridor safety improvement and revitalization project set in the urbanized area of New Brunswick, N.J. As the home of Rutgers University, world headquarters of Johnson & Johnson, and with its strategic location between New York City and Philadelphia, Pa., the “Hub City” was primed for a rebirth through extensive and aggressive redevelopment. A massive component of this redevelopment centered on the reconstruction of Route 18, an urban arterial roadway that runs along the city’s Raritan River waterfront.

How it satisfies the "triple bottom line" approach (economic, environmental, social), including innovative aspects:
 The Route 18 project enhanced the landscape of New Brunswick, is a successful example of Smart Growth initiatives, and served as a catalyst for urban renewal. From the onset of the final scope development phase, a Context Sensitive Design (CSD) approach was initiated to define a collaborative final design solution that met transportation needs, environmental values, and community values.
Environmental: Through a steering committee comprised of NJDOT, FHWA and Gannett Fleming Inc. a community involvement action plan was developed that centered on the formation of a Community Partnering Team (CPT). This CPT was formed in 1999 and continued throughout the duration of the project as a unique mechanism to obtain broad-based public participation and to provide information to stakeholders and community representatives. The goals and objective of the CPT were to: • mitigate impacts of the highway extension by interpreting cultural elements and environmental factors of the setting • develop guidelines to create aesthetically pleasing roadway features and sense of welcoming to New Brunswick • maintain and enhance existing linkages, both pedestrian and vehicular throughout the city, as well as views to and from the waterfront. The intensive CSD approach included regular community partnering meetings and public outreach efforts. Considerations were undertaken by the committee for various aspects such as earthen berms, expanded bicycle/pedestrian paths, a promenade, a river/park outlook, architectural treatments on structures and walls, and landscape treatments. An innovative solution to temporary traffic control was developed in lieu of a temporary traffic signal by introducing improved operational characteristics and a roundabout that was implemented as a permanent solution.
Social: Although this project directly targeted infrastructure improvements, the enhancement to parkland space improved the quality of life for visitors and residents. Boyd Park is a city facility that, prior to this project, was underutilized and difficult to access. The design of multi-use pathways and pedestrian bridges has reconnected Boyd Park with the city. A newly constructed promenade and performing arts amphitheater, significant park expansion, waterfront bulkhead rehabilitation, and new community boat ramp enhanced the community’s access to recreational opportunities within Boyd Park and reconnected the city to its Raritan River waterfront.

Categories of innovation: Project pathway, project strategy and management, communities: long and short term effects, land use and restoration, water resources and environment.

Additional resources for information: 

For more about this project: Teresa L. Peterson, P.E., C.M.E., LEED Green Associate, Project Manager, Gannett Fleming, Inc.;, 908-755-0040

Submitted by: Teresa L. Peterson

Date submitted: June 14, 2011

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