Improvements to Mains Street and Woodbridge Center Dr., Woodbridge
Woodbridge Township, with a population of 97,000, is New Jersey's sixth largest and fifth most populated municipality in New Jersey. The Township consists of ten communities: Avenel, Colonia, Fords, Hopelawn, Iselin, Keasby, Menlo Park Terrance, Port Reading, Sewaren, and Woodbridge proper. It is two square miles and is considered the "Crossroads of the State" because of the access to the Garden State Parkway, New Jersey Turnpike, Routes 1, 9, 27, 35 and 440.
"Woodbridge Center", located between US Routes 1 & 9 off of Woodbridge Center Drive, is one of the largest two-level enclosed shopping malls in the East. Opened in 1971, it has 1,500,000 square feet of retail space and is one of the major traffic generators in this densely populated portion of Middlesex County. As a result, the intersection of Main Street and Woodbridge Center Drive had become one of the most congested intersections in Middlesex County with a reputation for vehicular accidents.
In 1997, the Township modified the traffic signal system at the intersection to better manage turning movements and allow only one line of cars to travel at a time. While safety was improved, it was recognized at the time that a more permanent solution was required to substantially minimize accidents and eliminate intersection gridlock, particularly during the holiday shopping season.
CME Associates was commissioned to prepare plans to address the congestion source and proposed a new overpass conveying Main Street over Woodbridge Center Drive. In addition to upgrading the intersection to an interchange, the approach roadways were also widened and reconfigured with new traffic signals and turning lanes at the Antares Drive intersections with Main Street and Mutton Hollow Road. The project plan also installed a new traffic light at Mutton Hollow Road and Antares Drive near the driveway of the New Woodbridge Recreation Center. Also incorporated into the project was a new culvert on Mutton Hollow Road situated just south of the Mutton Hollow Road/ Antares Drive intersection.
Some constraints were associated with this project. To maintain existing traffic movements during construction, a temporary road was required from the Mutton Hollow Road/ Antares Drive intersection north to Main Street where a temporary at-grade intersection was provided during construction. This allowed for uninterrupted construction of the bridge and retaining wall structures. Two temporary traffic signal installations were also required to accommodate traffic moving through the work zones. Multiple traffic patterns were required along Main Street and the other roads at various construction stages to permit construction of different aspects of the project.
Due to space limitations on Woodbridge Center Drive, substantial quantities of temporary sheeting were utilized to separate traffic and construction workers from their close proximity during construction.
Upon completion, all traffic movements are permitted as before on state-of-the-art upgraded roadway facilities. Greater volumes of traffic are be able to move through the area more efficiently and safely than before construction, including during the holiday shopping seasons at Woodbridge Center. In addition, sidewalks were constructed on both sides of Main Street, and the existing storm drainage system was improved.
Funding for the $12.4 million project, a joint venture between Woodbridge Township and Middlesex County, is from the New Jersey Department of Transportation.