Thanksgiving Traffic: Avoid These Trouble Spots (If You Can)
Road work will be on hold around New Jersey for the Thanksgiving holiday, but lane restrictions will remain with some ongoing projects — which could mean delays for travelers.
Spots on New Jersey roads to be aware of include:
- The Direct Connection project in South Jersey that realigns I-295 so traffic doesn't have to go on the 42 Freeway is an ongoing project with narrower lanes. Be aware of lanes that have already been shifted and different patterns put in place.
- The Garden State Parkway has multiple lane shifts in place. There are several in place between exit 105 in Eatontown and 109 in Red Bank for bridge work affecting local and express lanes in both directions. Northbound past exit No. 91 in Brick has a lane shift over the Manasquan River. At the Essex toll plaza lanes shift in both directions as repairs are made to the deck of the bridge over Hoover Avenue.
- On the New Jersey Turnpike at Interchange 14A in Bayonne, all traffic has been shifted onto the east fork of the Port Jersey Boulevard Connector Bridge (the west fork is closed).
- The Route 46 bridge over the Hackensack River between Little Ferry and Ridgefield is being reconstructed and has only one lane available in each direction instead of the usual two lanes.
- The Bayonne Bridge will be open in both directions all day through the holiday but lanes are narrower as work on the "Raise the Roadway" project continues.
The Mathis Bridge (Route 37 eastbound) into Seaside Heights is CLOSED for the replacement of a deck. All traffic will be shifted to the westbound Tunney Bridge westbound side until spring.
The good news is that there should be no weather issues to affect travel, according to meteorologist Dan Zarrow, who expects temperatures to remain mild through the weekend under partly sunny skies. "New Jersey can be thankful for some peaceful weather as we dive into the long Thanksgiving weekend – perfect for traveling, parades, football, shopping, and more. Here is a full breakdown of what to expect over the next few days," said Zarrow.
New Jersey State Police urge some pre-planning to prevent accidents as "some preparation before you for leave, and a little more caution on the crowded roads might save you from being part of a holiday tragedy," said New Jersey State Police Colonel Rick Fuentes. "Regardless of whether you’re traveling by air, rail, or road, be aware of your surroundings and immediately report suspicious activity to authorities."
According to State Police, in New Jersey last year, crashes claimed eight people during the Thanksgiving weekend – four in vehicles, 2 driving motorcycles, one bicyclist, and one pedestrian.
State Police advise the following tips to avoid trouble on the road:
- Fill up your gas tank
- Check fluids (Including windshield washer fluid and anti-freeze)
- Check tire pressure and windshield wipers
- Bring a mobile phone with charger
- Let someone know your travel plans
- Steer clear of "road ragers." Challenging an aggressive driver for a position is a dangerous way to get to your destination a few seconds sooner