A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Raritan River Crossings

The Alfred E Driscoll Bridge is a major artery on the commute from Central Jersey to New York. It can be raining or snowing on the north shore and dry on the south. It is an appropriate spot to consider the beginning of North Jersey, but many would disagree. It's all a matter of perspective.

If you are in Monmouth County, there aren't but so many ways to cross the Raritan by car -- you can go west on Route 18 to New Brunswick and head north on 1, or you can take the Victory Bridge on Route 35, or you can cross the mighty Driscoll.

Named after a former New Jersey governor, this bridge arches so high above the Raritan River that ships easily pass underneath it.

The Driscoll Bridge was widened in a huge construction project that recently ended but seemed to drag on for umpteen million years. Here's a December 2008 video of a vehicle crossing the bridge, but it is woefully unrepresentative of the current situation since a new traffic pattern began in May 2009. In December, there was only one northbound express lane crossing the bridge. See the far left lane that splits off? It bypassed the busy morning exits for Routes 287, 440, and 1/9. This May 2009 video takes you on a shaky ride across the bridge in that single lane. (Now you know what Jersey drivers are doing when they aren't on their cell phones.) A subsequent May 2009 video shows two lanes open on the bypass, with cones blocking a couple of other lanes which would soon be opened as well. Today, fully half the northbound lanes are included in that left lanes bypass, while those stuck in the right lanes during rush hour are typically just creeping along towards Woodbridge, Piscataway, or Staten Island. Stay to the left and take the bypass if you are heading for the NJ Turnpike or Metropark.

Have you ever been on a North Jersey Coast Line train and had to wait in the Amboys for a ship to clear the Raritan River Railroad Bridge? The railroad bridge is in a major shipping lane to the North River and beyond, so it has to open to let ships by. Here's an interesting perspective on the situation, next time you have to wait until the bridge is down and locked.


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