About Route 173
What is “formerly” Route 22 is actually the current day Route 173. Some folks call this the Old Highway 22.
That can be confusing to some people. Let’s paraphrase to recap.
- Route 22 is sort of Route 78 from Clinton to Greenwich. They use the word “concurrent” when two or more highways share the same physical road for a stretch. This usually means that the roads will again part ways somewhere else.
- Route 173 is the old Route 22.
- Route 22 in this stretch does not have a road to call it’s own. I’d guess that probably NO ONE refers to “Route 22” EVER along this 15 mile section. Except us. Now.
This is why it’s being included on NJroute22.com – because we will consider it Route 22 for our purposes!
Here’s some history for the road nerds reading:
New Jersey Route 173
Route 173 is a state highway in New Jersey, United States that is a designation for an old section of U.S. Route 22. The route runs 14.62 mi (23.53 km) from Interstate 78 and U.S. Route 22 in Greenwich Township, Warren County to County Route 626 (Beaver Avenue) in Clinton Township, Hunterdon County, just east of an interchange with Route 31. Route 173 parallels Interstate 78 and U.S. Route 22 for its entire length through rural areas of Warren and Hunterdon Counties, passing through the towns of Bloomsbury and Clinton along the way. At one point just to the west of Clinton, Route 173 runs concurrently with Interstate 78 and U.S. Route 22.
The route was originally part of Pre-1927 Route 9 from 1916 until 1927 when it became part of U.S. Route 22 and Route 28. The Route 28 designation was removed from this portion of the road in 1953. When I-78 was being built between Exits 11 and 13 in the 1950s and 1960s, it was decided that part of U.S. Route 22 would be used for the new highway. The eastbound lanes of US 22 became the westbound lanes of the new highway, the eastbound lanes of the new highway were newly constructed, and the westbound lanes of US 22 were turned into a two-lane road. In 1969, US 22 was moved to the alignment of Interstate 78 between Greenwich Township and Clinton Township and Route 173 was designated along most of the former alignment of U.S. Route 22.
Route 173 begins at an interchange with Interstate 78 and U.S. Route 22 in Greenwich Township, Warren County, where the route continues to the northwest as part of U.S. Route 22, a six-lane, divided highway that heads towards Phillipsburg. From this interchange, Route 173 heads east on a two-lane, undivided road that parallels Interstate 78/U.S. Route 22 to the south, passing through farmland and some suburban residential developments. County Route 644 (Greenwich Church Road) loops to the north of Route 173 as the route features three crossings of the Pohatcong Creek. Route 173 intersects County Route 637 (Main Street/Maple Drive), County Route 639 (Warren Glen Road), and the northern terminus of County Route 579 (Church Street). Past the County Route 579 intersection, the route parallels the Musconetcong River and intersects County Route 632 (Asbury Road), which provides access to westbound Interstate 78/U.S. Route 22.
Route 173 crosses the Musconetcong River into Bloomsbury, Hunterdon County. It comes to another interchange with Interstate 78/U.S. Route 22, where Route 173 takes on the name Brunswick Pike and closely parallels the interstate to the north. The route enters Bethlehem Township and passes under a railroad line, continuing east through farmland The route parallels a Norfolk Southern rail line for a short distance, running farther to the north of Interstate 78/U.S. Route 22, before intersecting County Route 643 (West Portal-Asbury Road). Past this intersection, Route 173 heads south and then east through the Musconetcong Mountains as a five-lane road with a center left-turn lane. The route crosses into Union Township, where it becomes Old Highway 22.
The route becomes a divided highway and meets County Route 614 (Little York Road) at a traffic circle near an interchange with Interstate 78/U.S. Route 22. Route 173 has direct ramps to and from the westbound direction of the interstate with access to and from the eastbound direction provided by way of County Route 614. Route 173 narrows back to a two-lane, undivided road and closely follows Interstate 78/U.S. Route 22 to the north, meeting County Route 625 (Mechlin Corner Road) and County Route 635 (Charlestown Road) near another interchange with Interstate 78/U.S. Route 22. There is direct access to and from the westbound direction of Interstate 78/U.S. Route 22 while access to and from the eastbound direction of Interstate 78/U.S. Route 22 is provided by County Route 625. The route continues east and splits into a one-way pair. At this point, eastbound Route 173 crosses over Interstate 78/U.S. Route 22 and makes a left turn to merge onto eastbound Interstate 78/U.S. Route 22. The westbound direction of Route 173 splits from Interstate 78/U.S. Route 22 and continues west to join back with eastbound Route 173.
Route 173 follows Interstate 78/U.S. Route 22 for a little over a mile in Franklin Township until an interchange County Route 513 (Pittstown Road), where the eastbound direction merges onto this route and heads into Clinton. It meets the westbound direction of Route 173, which splits at this point and heads west on West Main Street to merge into westbound Interstate 78/U.S. Route 22 in Union Township. In Clinton, Route 173 crosses over the South Branch Raritan River and splits from County Route 513 where that route heads north on Leigh Street. The route crosses into Clinton Township and it features ramps connecting to Interstate 78/U.S. Route 22, with access from westbound Route 173 to westbound Interstate 78/U.S. Route 22 and from eastbound Interstate 78/U.S. Route 22 to eastbound Route 173. Route 173 turns north to an interchange with Route 31 and end at County Route 626 (Beaver Avenue).