October 23, 2022
Traffic could soon be slightly alleviated for drivers heading to the Jersey Shore, thanks to a construction project that would create more lanes on the Atlantic City Expressway.
Plans are in the works to widen a 13-mile stretch of the expressway, from mile marker 31 westbound to the end of Route 42 in Gloucester Township, adding a third lane in both directions along the center median, according to South Jersey Transportation Authority.
The $180 million project, which would add a third lane to the last remaining two-lane stretch of the AC Expressway, is in its preliminary design phase. The highway serves six South Jersey counties and connects the Garden State Parkway and Philadelphia to Atlantic City and the Jersey Shore.
New Jersey Congressman Donald Norcross (District 1), New Jersey Department of Transportation Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti and South Jersey Transportation Authority executive director Stephen F. Dougherty held a press conference on Wednesday discussing the project.
The two-lane section of the expressway that would be widened carries 55,000 vehicles each day. It sees even more during the summer and on weekends, Gutierrez-Scaccetti said during the press conference, according to NJ.com.
Major positive impacts of adding third lane include less traffic congestion and improved safety.
“Everyone knows it’s the right thing to do," Norcross said. "The back-ups start where the third lane stops."
Along with safety and traffic improvements, the construction project will also create an estimated 2,300 jobs in the region, NBC10 reported.
Officials are planning a low impact project, building the lanes along the center median to avoid wetlands and wildlife alongside the highway. This strategy also means that only two bridges will need to be replaced to provide clearance for the new lanes.
No further toll hikes are needed to pay for the project, which is being funded by a 37% toll increase that took effect in 2020.
Construction, which could take two years, is expected to begin in 2024. It will be adjusted during peak summer travel times, according to officials.
A public hearing on the plans will be held at a later date.