Interstate 76 eastbound ramp closed this weekend

NJDOT officials announced the closure of the Interstate 76 eastbound (exit 1A) ramp connection to Interstate 295 southbound this weekend in conjunction with the Direct Connection project in Bellmawr and Mt. Ephraim, Camden County.

Beginning Friday night, July 12, at around 11 p.m. NJDOT’s contractor, PKF Mark III, is scheduled to close the left-lane ramp connection to set up a new construction zone. The full ramp closure is necessary for the contractor to conduct roadway excavation work along the inside shoulder of the ramp. NJDOT expects the ramp to reopen on Monday, July 15, at 5 a.m. If the work is completed prior to that, the ramp will be reopened accordingly.

“Residents should be aware that in addition to this weekend’s closure, this construction will impact their commute and their communities for several years,” said Camden County Freeholder Ian Leonard, liaison to the Camden County Department of Public Works. “When this project is completed, it will alleviate much of the traffic congestion currently experienced on a daily basis. It will be a monumental change for this highway interchange creating a substantial upgrade to the current configuration.”

The planned improvements will help to enhance safety and reduce traffic congestion at the interchange of I-296, I-76 and Route 42 while providing a direct connection for I-295 traffic that will bypass the Route 42 and I-76 traffic.

During the weekend closure motorists destined for Interstate 295 southbound will be directed to utilize one of two detour options:

– Motorists can use I-76 eastbound exit 1B for I-295 northbound to exit 28 for Route 168 northbound to the ramp for I-295 southbound.

– As a secondary detour, motorists can use I-76 eastbound to Route 42 southbound to exit 14 to use Creek Road to get onto Route 42 northbound to I-295 northbound to Exit 28 for Route 168 northbound to the ramp for I-295 southbound.

Additional portable variable message signs are being utilized throughout the project limits to provide advance notification to the motoring public of all traffic pattern changes associated with Direct Connection.

Construction began on the $160 million contract one in March, which will carry out work along I-295 south of Essex Avenue, along I-76 in the Market Street area and along two Route 42 ramps. Work under this first contract is expected to be completed in the summer of 2015. Overall, the $900 million federally funded Direct Connection project will provide a seamless route for I-295 motorists traveling through the interchange — through which approximately 250,000 vehicles travel daily to and from Camden, Philadelphia and other destinations.

The project has been divided into four separate construction contracts, with completion of the fourth and final contract in the fall of 2021. NJDOT’s project website provides construction activity schedules and updates.

The precise timing of the work is subject to change due to weather or other factors. Motorists are encouraged to check NJDOT’s traffic information website www.511nj.org for real-time travel information.