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Need #1: Alleviate traffic congestion and improve operational reliability along the Route 17 “bottleneck”
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Need #1: Alleviate traffic congestion and improve operational reliability along the Route 17 “bottleneck”
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Need #2 – Restore the appropriate balance of traffic between Route 17 and parallel local and county streets
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Need #2 – Restore the appropriate balance of traffic between Route 17 and parallel local and county streets
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Need #3 – Improve safety in the project corridor
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Need #3 – Improve safety in the project corridor
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Need #4 – Improve the condition and reliability of the existing corridor infrastructure, including structures, pavements, drainage, and related features
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Need #4 – Improve the condition and reliability of the existing corridor infrastructure, including structures, pavements, drainage, and related features
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Route 17 SB approaching Rochelle Avenue exit
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Southeast corner of bridge over Pleasant Avenue
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Southwest corner of bridge over NYS&W Railroad
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Passaic Street looking west toward Rochelle Avenue
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NB queues extend south of Essex Street from Bottleneck
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NB Route 17 approaching Essex Street (south bottleneck)
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Corridor constrained operations between Essex Street and Central Avenue
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Route 17 midday operations in constrained section (Central Avenue to Passaic Street)
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Route 17 midday operations in constrained section (Central Avenue to Passaic Street)
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Route 17 midday operations in constrained section (Central Avenue to Passaic Street)
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Passaic Street Exit
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Route 17 North at Route 4 Split
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Route 17 Viewed from Garden State Plaza
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Route 17 at Rochelle Avenue Exit
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Route 17 at Rochelle Avenue Exit
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Southbound Ramp from E. Passaic Avenue
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Southbound Ramp from E. Passaic Avenue
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NB Route 17 near Marinus Street (Outback Steakhouse)
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Route 17 midday operations near Woodland Avenue
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Constrained NB operations and geometrics at Grove Street
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Constrained flow at NB lane drop (north of Essex Street)
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NB congestion at lane drop (at Essex Street)

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The citizens and stakeholders of the area are acutely aware of the congestion and safety issues that have adversely affected the section of Route 17 from north of the Essex Street interchange to south of Route 4 for over forty years. The New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) began studying improvements to this section of the Route 17 corridor during the early 1970s, but for various reasons this section of the Route 17 corridor essentially retains its original design from nearly 80 years ago, providing two travel lanes in each direction with shoulders, geometric elements, and roadside features that are considered to be substandard by current standards. Six (6) major structures owned and maintained by the NJDOT are in an advanced state of disrepair and require immediate attention. Access and geometric deficiencies appear to be contributing factors to corridor crash history that exceeds statewide averages for similar roadways. Finally, the growth of the region over the past 80 years has resulted in a roadway that is unable to meet its basic transportation function, with direct and indirect traffic diversions onto nearby local and county roadways that diminish the quality of life of nearby communities. The roadway serves multiple roles, from being an important through highway serving over 100,000 vehicles per day on the regional network, to a vital land service highway and commercial spine through Bergen County, to serving local traffic separated north and south by the NYS&W Railroad, to providing access for numerous local businesses.

The most recent efforts to advance improvements in this corridor (see Flow Chart) were initiated by the NJDOT over ten years ago under a program entitled the “Route 17 Needs Assessment / Pre-Concept Development Study”. Upon the completion of this study in 2002, two other studies, each more detailed than the initial study, were advanced. The first, a Scoping Study prepared for Bergen County in 2002, focused primarily on improvements in the vicinity of the Route 17 / Passaic Street interchange. This study was advanced to the next stage – a Design Report / Categorical Exclusion Document (CED) in 2003 (also by Bergen County), which by 2005 resulted in a Preliminary and Final Design project advanced by Bergen County and coordinated with the NJDOT for improvements to this interchange. The second study, beginning in 2004 and entitled the “Route 17 Concept Development / Feasibility Assessment Study” (CD/FA), was advanced by NJDOT and included an examination of the 7.6-mile section of Route 17 between NJ Route 120 and the Garden State Parkway (within which this Bottleneck Project is situated). The CD/FA Study included consideration of “integrated land use” and transportation alternatives that included a coordinated program of public outreach, design charrettes, and visualization techniques with local residents from many communities.

In Summer 2008, Bergen County and the New Jersey Department of Transportation agreed to work in partnership to advance improvements to the remaining “bottleneck” section located between the recently improved Essex Street interchange (completed 2008) and the NJ Route 4 interchange (completed 1999). The resulting “Route 17 Bottleneck Project”, focused on this section, is building upon the information and public outreach derived from the earlier studies discussed above. By combining and synthesizing these various efforts, a program of Concept Development, Alternatives Analysis, Preliminary Engineering, and technical studies is expected to result in the preparation of an environmental document meeting State and Federal standards to advance all improvements to the Final Design phase.

Page Updated 4/28/2014