By ROBERT LINNEHAN
A new portion of Route 73 is opening tonight as the State DOT moved into a new phase of construction on the massive Marlton circle removal project.
The New Jersey Department of Transportation announced last Thursday that a milestone has been reached in the ongoing Marlton Circle elimination.
The new Route 73 overpass that carries traffic over Route 70 will be open to northbound traffic from here on out.
NJDOT will close the right lanes on Route 70 westbound and Route 73 northbound. The new overpass for Route 73 northbound is opening tonight at 11 p.m. The right lanes will be reopened by Saturday.
Also, according to the NJDOT the left turn lane from Route 70 eastbound to Route 73 northbound will be eliminated with a new traffic pattern using the right lane exit ramp to Route 73 northbound. Route 73 southbound will remain in the current traffic pattern. Intermittent traffic stoppages may be necessary for signal work and striping.
The $63 million interchange improvement project is eliminating the existing traffic circle and replacing it with a new overpass that elevates Route 73 over Route 70. The two highways will be connected with new local exit and entrance ramps. The Marlton Circle elimination project began in April 2009 and remains on schedule for completion in winter 2011.
Variable message signs are in place on Route 70 and 73 to inform motorists of all planned changes in traffic operations during construction. Construction information and real-time traffic updates are available at www.511nj.org.
Construction on the circle elimination project originally began in June of 2009. It was part of a $31 million state roadway reconstruction project.
This is the third phase of construction for the elimination of the Marlton circle. The DOT is actually ahead of schedule for the entire project.