The state Department of Transportation built new outer roadways to separate Route 18 local traffic from express traffic. The outer roadways allow access to and from New Brunswick via new bridges at George Street, Commercial Avenue, New Street and Albany Street. The outer roadways now feature wide multi-use paths to connect the city, its institutions, and residential areas.
Protected pedestrian crossings have been provided with traffic signals at Paulus Boulevard, George Street, and Commercial Avenue. The DOT also built pedestrian bridges at Carpenter Road and Richmond Street. A ramped promenade from the new bridge at Commercial Avenue provides a scenic view of the Raritan River and an entranceway for pedestrians into Boyd Park. Improvements also include a new amphitheater adjacent to the park pavilion.DOT officials said Route 18 was reconstructed in a manner that minimally impacted the New Brunswick community and motorists, taking into account factors such as residents' concerns, Rutgers University scheduling, and the needs of the health care and corporate communities.
Over 80,000 cars per day travel on the highway bound for such downtown New Brunswick entities including Rutgers, Johnson & Johnson's Corporate Headquarters, Saint Peter's University Hospital and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.
Gov. Jon Corzine praised the project and said it enhanced the economy, New Brunswick's revitalization, and will improve business. He said over 600 jobs were created and supported by the project.
"Today we mark the completion of Route 18, a major transportation artery that not only provides access to downtown New Brunswick and Rutgers, but regional hospitals, major corporations, local businesses and residential communities," Corzine said Wednesday in New Brunswick. "For that reason, Route 18 is a shining example of how public works projects can stimulate our economy through investment and job creation for our citizens."
Officials said the project is estimated to generate $90 million in income for workers and added an estimated $115.7 million to the state's gross domestic product.