“The foundation for the success of this project was built upon a true spirit of collaboration with local stakeholders that started years before shovels hit the ground.”
- James Simpson, NJDOT Commissioner
Marlton Circle — a southern New Jersey traffic circle notorious for congestion — was eliminated in 2011, to the relief of nearly 100,000 daily commuters. The circle lacked the necessary capacity for the population of Evesham Township, which had doubled since the 1970s. Mile-long backups were common and by 2002, Marlton Circle had become New Jersey’s third most dangerous intersection. Determined to resolve these issues, the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) engaged Urban to provide design services to replace the circle. Our connection to the elimination project dates back to 2001, when we provided preliminary designs to NJDOT.
NJDOT needed a design that could be constructed with minimal traffic disruptions and be accepted by the public. Another challenge was the project’s aggressive, two-year schedule. Numerous permits were required, as well as 32 access changes, 32 partial ROW acquisitions, and two full ROW acquisitions.
We provided civil, electrical, structural, and traffic engineering services for this $57 million award-winning project. The circle was replaced with a grade-separated interchange at the intersection of Routes 70 and 73, with ramps carrying Route 73 traffic over Route 70. We developed plans for five permanent traffic signals along with fiberoptic connections for signals on Route 70. The 2-span structure features retaining walls and full-height abutments, as well as handicapped ramps, and crosswalks with pedestrian count downs. Drainage and stormwater management systems were also replaced.
We held numerous work sessions with the community and businesses impacted by the project, to reach consensus on this design. An interactive project website also helped keep the community engaged.
To adequately gauge the impact of construction on the surrounding area, we modeled each stage of construction using Synchro/Sim Traffic. We modified traffic volumes based on the roadway alignments and lane configurations; instituted temporary traffic signals; and calculated potential queues and delays for each construction stage. These models helped us answer questions from the public and stakeholders about how construction would affect the daily commute and businesses in the area.
The project was completed on schedule, has received several awards, and has benefited travelers and surrounding communities. In 2014, NJDOT reported a 74% reduction in the frequency of crashes within 0.2 miles of the former circle and on each of the four state highway approaches. Data was based on an 18-month post-construction study. Property damage only crashes went down from 134 per year to just 39.