For anyone that drives along Route 78, Route 287 (and Route 202 or Route 206), but doesn’t listen to talk or news radio (or get depressed via mainstream media) – might not know what is going on with all the construction work at the big “exchange” in the middle of the state.

We’re here to share via a non-comped outlet. Ours.

Sure, a simple internet search might lead you to the results – but they’re less than clearly laid out. Here we will simplify it for you.

What is going on with Route 78, Route 287, Route 206 and Route 202 in Bedminster?

For those starting to lose their attention span – here are the two main points of this construction work:

  1. They’re moving the connection from Route 78 East to Route 287 North – from the “fast lane” to the “slow lane.” In other words, from the left side of 287 North – to the right side of 287 North.
  2. The exit from 287 North to 202/206 south is being moved slightly further north, and a new acceleration lane is being added to 202/206 south.
  • They initially expected the work to be complete in 2018, but judging by the progress – it will probably be 2020 or beyond. Heck, they dreamt up this plan back in 2002 – so it’s par for the course.

If facts are all you wanted – then you can stop reading this now – and click other articles. But if you are curious for more…

The new onramp from Route 78 East to Route 287 North.

Okay, we understand – please tell us more about the Route 78 / Route 287 project

Well, it appears that this project was deemed necessary because of all the so-called “challenging” driving that was caused by having Route 78 east merge with the left lane of Route 287 north.

What highway officials call “weaving” (i.e., changing lanes) was/is apparently responsible for many accidents between this merge – and exit 22 to get onto Route 202/206 south. Not bad drivers. Blame it on the road. The same way guns kill people and not the people who pull the triggers.

Anyway, the same thing was done years ago to Route 78 east. As you can see in this picture – there USED to be an exchange between Route 78 and the slow lane of Route 287 north. But the problem there clearly was people getting ON Route 78 East from 287 South had to compete with people wishing to get off 78 to go north on 287. “Cloverleaf” designs always presented these challenges. While cheapest to build, they required skilled and attentive drivers, which is a rarity in 2019. So we build now for the lowest-common-denominator (and the most costly).

They used to have a ramp but that too was overly challenging for inept drivers.

So this makes it the second time they’re trying to “fix” this exchange. Another reason why you should never trust traffic or highway “engineers.” No one has to foresight to anticipate future problems. (Either that – or they do it poorly on purpose – just to keep them employed later on…)

Next thing you know, people will complain that some birds nests were disrupted building these new overpasses.

At least they were able to “re-use” a small part of the old onramp, right?

So there will be two new overpasses that cross over both sides of 287 (in red). And the ramp from 287 North to 78 East will be shifted a bit southeast to accommodate the new offramp from 78 to 287.

That’s it!

The new offramp from Route 287 North to Routes 202/206 South.

Here are the official questions and answers from the State of New Jersey. $25 million bucks sounds pretty cheap these days. Wonder what the budget overruns are?

NJ Route 287 / Route 78 Interchange FAQ

Q. Why is this work necessary?
A: In 2002, a study was undertaken at the request of the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT). This study found complex traffic patterns and high traffic volumes led to frequent traffic congestion and crashes on the left side entry ramp from I-78 eastbound to I-287 northbound (Ramp H). It also found a higher than normal crash rate for the Exit 22A ramp from I-287 northbound to Routes 202/206 southbound (Ramp SA) due to queuing onto the I-287 northbound auxiliary lane during morning and evening rush hour. The proposed improvements were designed to improve safety, reduce congestion and weaving in this area.
Q. What is the schedule?

The project is anticipated to begin construction in the fall of 2016. Construction is anticipated to be completed in the winter of 2019.

Q. How will travel be impacted?
A: All traffic lanes will remain open along I-287, I-78 and Routes 202/206 during peak hours. Off-peak hour lane closures, including overnight hours will be employed to perform construction not otherwise possible under fully open traffic lanes. Traffic slowdowns on the highways and ramps will be required during overnight hours for erection and removal of bridge girders and overhead sign structures.
  During the tie-in of the existing ramp from I-78 eastbound to I-287 northbound (Ramp H) with the planned new Ramp H, the existing ramp will need to be closed either over a long weekend or for a couple of nights. During such closures, I-78 eastbound traffic destined to I-287 northbound will be diverted to an unused loop ramp, which will be temporarily reopened for the detour.
Q. Does NJDOT plan to widen the travel lanes?
A: Yes. I-287 northbound will be widened to accommodate the new Ramp E, which will be connecting I-287 northbound to I-78 eastbound. The ramp from I-78 eastbound to I-287 southbound (Ramp B) will receive minor widening. Routes 202/206 will also receive widening to accommodate an auxiliary lane from the ramp from I-287 northbound to Routes 202/206 southbound (Ramp SA) onto Routes 202/206.
Q. How much will it cost and who will pay for it?
A: The project cost is estimated to be $24.5 million and is federally funded.
Q. How can I stay informed or offer suggestions?
A: Check this web site regularly for updated information.
Q. What if I have other questions or concerns about the project?

NJDOT encourages community members to voice their concerns and contribute suggestions to the Project Team. To provide input, attend one of the public information meetings or contact:

Office of Community and Constituent Relations
New Jersey Department of Transportation
1035 Parkway Avenue
PO Box 600

Trenton, NJ 08625-0600


About the author


NJroute22 (site admin) is an avid traveler along NJ Route 22 (and almost all of central New Jersey!) Family man, pet lover, and property owner who has a natural curiosity for everything around.