New Jersey Turnpike - Interchange 6 to 9 Widening

New Jersey Turnpike - Interchange 6 to 9 Widening

MSE Walls with Square Panels
MSE precast panels abutment square panels
Burlington & Middlesex Counties, New Jersey
New Jersey Turnpike Authority

~~The New Jersey Turnpike, completed in 1952, is a major thoroughfare traversing the state from northeast to southwest.  From the day it opened, the Turnpike has both facilitated and accelerated economic development in New Jersey, in neighboring municipalities, and throughout the mid-Atlantic region. One of the most heavily travelled highways in the country, the Turnpike has an average daily traffic in excess of 500,000 vehicles.  Yet by 2032, traffic demand is expected to increase by 68% in the northbound direction and an astonishing 92% southbound.

As demand grew on the Turnpike in the last decades of the 2000s, dual highways were constructed in the northern portion, from New York and Newark southward for nearly 30 miles.  With the goal of speedier, less congested travel for cars, the inner set of north and south roadways was limited to "Cars Only", while the outer roadways were designated "Cars/Trucks/Busses".  As traffic volume continued to grow in the early 2000s, however, extension and/or widening of the dual roadway system became necessary.  The result is the NJ Turnpike Interchange 6 to 9 Widening Program which began in 2009 and is expected to be completed in 2014.  

The widening program consists of approximately 25 miles of new three-lane dual roadways, 10 miles of adding an additional lane to existing two-lane dual roadways, and associated interchange improvements.  Construction extends northward from the connection to the Pennsylvania Turnpike at Interchange 6 to the end of the original dual roadways just south of Interchange 9 in East Brunswick Township.  When complete, the widening will result in a 12-lane (six in each direction) dual-dual roadway, extending all the way from the New York area to Interchange 6, and capable of accommodating projected traffic needs through the year 2032.

The improvements to the Turnpike are adding 170 lane miles at a cost of about $2.5 billion.  Approximately 91% of those lane miles are new or widened mainline roadway, while the rest are for new ramps at interchanges and at the four service areas affected by this work.  Dozens of local road bridges crossing the Turnpike are being reconstructed and numerous flyover ramps are being created to move traffic on and off the inner roadways.  Mechanically Stabilized Earth (MSE) retaining walls and bridge abutments are required throughout the widening project and The Reinforced Earth Company (RECo) was selected as the MSE supplier on 11 contracts.   Products supplied by RECo include

• Reinforced Earth® MSE retaining walls and abutments having primarily rectangular (5 ft x 10 ft nominal) and some square (5 ft x 5 ft nominal) precast panel facings;
• Terratrel wire facing MSE structures, constructed as temporary walls to facilitate maintenance of traffic, and as part of two-stage construction, where precast panels are installed after a settlement waiting period;
• Piano Wall precast MSE facing panels having an integrated traffic barrier;
• Precast traffic barrier to mount on top of Reinforced Earth rectangular and square panels and
• Precast coping for top-of-wall finish treatment when no barrier is required.

The quantities of these products RECo supplied were dramatic: nearly 887,000 sq. ft. of single stage, two stage, and temporary MSE walls, 9.4 miles of precast traffic barrier, 2.1 miles of Piano Wall, and almost 3,500 ln. ft. of precast coping.  RECo worked productively on 3 contracts each with South State, Inc. and with IEW Construction Group, on two contracts each with Ferreira Construction/Crisdel Group and with TetraTech, and on one contract with  A. Servidone/B. Anthony Construction.   The fact that four contractors were repeat customers on this project is a testament to RECo's reputation for thoughtful designs, attention to detail, quality fabrication, and knowledgeable attentive field support during construction.

Several walls were designed to account for various uniform and differential settlement conditions.  To accommodate settlement beneath bridge abutments, where the bridge seats themselves were on piles, RECo developed a special lateral support structural system to allow attaching reinforcing strips to the abutment backwall, avoiding settlement-induced down drag forces on the bridge seat.  In addition to RECo’s unique and structurally efficient Piano wall, another special feature of these projects was custom-design barrier units at light poles, transitions, junction boxes, and inlets. RECo also developed special temporary wire walls at the locations of pipes and drainage structures, to create an opening where the pipe or drainage structure would be installed after the completion of settlement.

The Reinforced Earth Company specializes in providing excellent service to its customers, not only by supplying high quality precast and manufactured components for Reinforced Earth and Terratrel retaining walls and related products, but also by meeting the special design needs of individual projects.  Contractors rely on The Reinforced Earth Company to get it right the first time so their projects get built on time, and RECo's project managers provide high quality professional field support to help make that happen.  So when the New Jersey Turnpike Interchange 6 to 9 Widening Project fully opens to traffic in late 2014, Reinforced Earth products and services will have played a significant role in this major transportation improvement for the citizens of New Jersey and the entire mid-Atlantic region.