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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 Route 17 Bottleneck Project commenced in December 2008. Below is a summary of the efforts completed to date and project milestones.

Initial Screening Workshop (May 7, 2009): The first milestone in the Alternatives Analysis process was the Initial Screening Workshop, held on May 7, 2009 with attendees from Bergen County, NJDOT, and the consultant team. At this workshop, over thirty concepts and variations were presented for consideration. Key to this screening effort was the determination that, at a minimum, a widening of the existing four-lane Bottleneck section of the corridor to a consistent six travel lanes would be necessary. Given this determination, it was agreed to develop a single “Optimal Alignment” intended to minimize the combined effects of right-of-way acquisition, business displacement, access, geometrics, and environmental concerns, with two cross sectional variations.

Development of Alternative 1 (2009-2010) and Public Outreach (late summer 2009, March-April 2010): Meetings with Public Officials from each municipality (Rochelle Park, Maywood, and Paramus) were held in late summer 2009 to discuss the project, receive comments, and identify concerns of each municipality. These comments were taken into consideration in the development of an alignment which served as the basis for Alternative 1. This alternative was subject to two cross-sectional variations to examine how a reduced-width cross section (eliminating the right shoulders on the proposed improvements) could further optimize the design to lessen impacts. This led to the development of “One Alternative, Three Variations”:


The three variations of Alternative 1 were presented to local representatives during March 2010 and they were presented to the general public at the first Public Information Center (PIC), held at the Maywood Public Library on April 20, 2010. Numerous public comments were received at and shortly after the PIC. Comments and input received at local Officials Meetings and the Public Information Center are important to helping resolve which alignment and variations will be advanced to the Preliminary Preferred Alternative.  Materials from the April 2010 PIC are available on the Downloads page.

Additional Public Outreach and Agency Coordination (May 2010-September 2011): Given the widespread interest in the project, a series of additional public outreach and agency coordination steps were taken to refine the alternative designs and incorporate public comments wherever practical and beneficial to the overall corridor. Key efforts included:

  • Increased coordination with environmental staff at the New Jersey Department of Transportation (May 2010) and discussions about the environmental document pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
  • Special “Open Houses” during June and July 2010 with over thirty (30) project stakeholders that had expressed interest during earlier public outreach or information gathering efforts to discuss the Right-of-Way acquisition process that would commence following project environmental approval, occurring during Final Design.
  • Meeting with FHWA (August 2010) to initiate formal coordination of the ongoing technical environmental and engineering studies that would become the basis for the NEPA environmental document and the approvals required for the acceptance of a Preliminary Preferred Alternative (PPA) and the initiation of Final Design
  • A two-day Value Engineering Workshop (September 2010) with the NJDOT Value Solutions Unit, as required by State and Federal policy for projects expected to require at least $25 Million in Federal funding for construction, with recommendations provided by Value Solutions in November 2010
  • Working meetings with the Bergen County Freeholders and administrators during February and March 2011 to reaffirm the purpose and need for the project, propose solutions to key impacts, and to identify additional sensitivities held by stakeholders related to the corridor improvement program
  • Follow-up consultations with NJDOT Subject Matter Experts, Value Solutions and Environmental staff, and Bergen County Planning and Engineering representatives, June 2011 and ongoing
  • A continuance of stakeholder communications, whenever initiated by the stakeholders, from June 2010 to present


Value Engineering and Development of Alternative 2 (September 2010-December 2011):
The Value Engineering effort started in September 2010 considered the efficacy of many of the comments and thoughts advanced by the public and other reviewers during the preceding months, with the aim of reducing costs and impacts while maintaining the core elements needed to attain the Project Purpose and Need. As a result of these follow-up efforts, a new alternative, designated as Alternative 2, is being developed for the project corridor and reviewed by the affected primary public transportation agencies, including the FHWA, NJDOT, and Bergen County. In comparison to Alternative 1, Alternative 2 would include these modifications:

  • Reduced right-of-way impacts (reduced property acquisitions and cost), including preservation of the First Student bus facility, multi-family homes along the south side of Prospect Avenue at the municipal boundary (east of Route 17), and homes and one business along the south side of Central Avenue (east of Route 17)
  • Reduced construction cost
  • Refined traffic modeling and operational analyses
  • Staged construction will be required for the bridges spanning the NYS&W railroad and Central Avenue
  • Reduced shoulder widths (left and right) between Central Avenue and Passaic Street
  • Oldis Street would remain open to Route 17 (closed in Alternative 1)
  • No Relocation of Prospect Avenue (east of Route 17), retain gate near Rochelle Park/Maywood border
  • No Local Street Connection between Passaic Street and Pleasant Avenue (behind Marion Avenue)
  • Refined loop roadway near Pleasant Avenue, with connectivity to Farview Avenue included
  • Reduced eastward alignment shift between Grove Avenue and Oldis Street
  • Water quality basin (NJDEP mandate) shifted from Central Avenue to the FUSRAP (Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program) Maywood Superfund Site


Next Steps:


  • Currently Alternative 1 (three variations) and Alternative 2 remain under consideration and a Preliminary Preferred Alternative (PPA) has not been selected.
  • At present, draft technical reports submitted in November 2011-January 2012, and a formalized Concept Development Report submitted in August 2012, are under review by the primary public transportation agencies.
  • Following the completion of this review and the addressing of agency comments, a third round of Public Outreach (including meetings with representatives of Rochelle Park, Maywood, and Paramus) and another Public Information Center are anticipated in mid-2014.
  • Alternative 2 will be posted to this website for review by the public during the third round of public outreach.
  • Following this third round of public outreach, it is expected that the Preliminary Preferred Alternative would be selected (with refinements resulting from the preceding public outreach / PIC process) by the primary public transportation agencies.
  • This selection would be followed by the publication of the environmental document pursuant to NEPA and its associated technical support documents. The environmental document is scheduled to be issued and reviewed by the primary public transportation agencies in mid-2015.
  • Following the review of these documents by transportation agencies and the addressing of their comments, these environmental documents will be released to the public for review and comment, including the convening of a Public Hearing in a Public Information Center format.
  • As of April 2014, funding has not been programmed within the State Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP) to advance this project beyond the environmental approval phase. As such, funding for Final Design, Right-of-Way acquisition, utility relocation and construction is not currently available within the State’s program. The availability of additional funding sources will continue to be investigated in the coming months.

Stay Involved!
This website will be updated periodically on the progress of these steps, studies, and upcoming Public Outreach events. If you have any questions or comments, please contact the Project Team using the form on the Contact page. Also, you may join our mailing list to receive updates about this project.
Page Updated 4/28/2014