Montclair State University’s commuter students may have noticed the new bridge over Route 46 that connects the Clove Road roundabout to Great Notch Road. Now students can directly go on Route 46 West rather than making a u-turn on Route 46 East.
The new bridge is part of a $200 million project to improve Route 46. According to the New Jersey Department of Transportation website, the purpose of the project is to “correct existing operational and safety problems along the Route 3 and Route 46 corridor as these existing problems have resulted in a high occurrence of accidents and chronic bottlenecks.”
The project began with a Feasibility Assessment in 2001 after significant community outreach, and construction began in 2015. Now, 4 years later, the first phase of the project has finally concluded.
Freshman English major and commuter Megan Kick was excited to see that the bridge was open.
“The opening of the bridge is going to save me and so many other commuters so much time getting on the other side of the highway,” Kick said. “This bridge will make the commute back home so much easier and hopefully cut down on the traffic encountered in the past.”
She continued to list the ways in which the new bridge is useful.
“It will also be far less confusing than all the turns and side roads it takes to get on the other side of the highway,” Kick said. “Commuting can honestly become the most stressful part of your day, so I’m glad there is now something to make it better and hopefully take some of the stress away.”
Freshman linguistics major and commuter Danielle Nelken sees the bridge as a quick and convenient option for commuters.
“I use the new roundabout every day when I go home and it is a very fast and efficient way to leave campus,” Nelken said. “There’s never any standstill traffic or long lights so it is a great addition for commuters.”
Sophomore family science and human development major Kat Benedict has noticed a significant difference in her commute from last year to this year.
“The bridge has saved me so much time and some days I even beat the rush hour traffic,” says Benedict.
Although many students are happy about the bridge opening, the construction on Route 46 is far from over.
Phase 2 of the project is expected to begin in the spring of 2020. It includes widening Route 46, rebuilding exit ramps, a new traffic light on Valley Road, and a new roundabout at the intersection of Valley Road, Great Notch Road and the Route 3 exit ramp.
The project is expected to be finished in 2022.