Even with record-high gas prices, the upcoming Memorial Day weekend (the unofficial start to the summer season) is expected to be one of the busiest ever in the Garden State.

To help keep traffic moving across New Jersey, especially on routes heading down the Shore, the state Department of Transportation plans to limit construction activity starting at 6 a.m. on Friday, May 27, through noon Tuesday, May 31.

Transportation Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti said a similar schedule will be followed for all weekends during the summer.

“We do our very, very best to ensure that we can have free-flow traffic,” she said.

Keep you moving

She said starting at the end of this week, “we’re going to work hard to make sure we don’t interfere with people’s ability to go on vacation.”

Nevertheless, there are several ongoing major construction projects which may necessitate lane shifts and slowdowns that drivers need to be aware of.

What roads to avoid

Gutierrez-Scaccetti said work is continuing on the I-295 Direct Connect project, that when finished will provide a seamless route for drivers traveling through the interchange of I-295, I-76 and Route 42.

She said work has been shifted to overnight hours as much as possible but there may be unavoidable slowdowns and delays as different phases of the project move forward.

On I-295, traffic in both directions is currently shifted with one lane to the left and two lanes to the right with a center work zone on the Bridge over Big Timber Creek. This configuration will be removed in the next few weeks with all three lanes in both directions shifted to the left.

Traffic jam with rows of cars
Aleksandra Glustsenko, Getty Stock / ThinkStock
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On I-78 in North Jersey, two bridge replacement projects are underway. Both have lane shifts near the interchange of I-287 but all lanes are being maintained.

One project is on I-78 westbound where the bridge over the north branch of the Raritan River is being replaced, which is just west of I-287. To the east of I-287, I-78 eastbound traffic is shifted for a project that is replacing the bridges over Route 202/206 and Washington Valley Road.

Gutierrez-Scaccetti said work is also continuing on the Route 72 Manahawkin Bay Bridge project in Stafford and Ship Bottom but “all lanes will be maintained on Route 72 through the summer. We don’t allow lane closures on the weekends or the holidays. Work is typically conducted at night.”

She noted the DOT is working with the contractor to limit activity that may impact traffic. There are lane shifts at the Marsha Drive intersection in Stafford, and there is work on Eighth and Ninth streets in Ship Bottom, so motorists should slow down and use caution when driving through the work zone.

She said as drivers head down the shore it’s important to slow down in all areas where work is being done.

David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at david.matthau@townsquaremedia.com

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