Following several years of planning, a project that hopes to better connect Downtown Jersey City with one of the Garden State’s most popular parks is finally slated to move forward later this month.
The New Jersey Turnpike Authority recently announced that construction of a new roadway that will extend Jersey Avenue’s southern terminus into Liberty State Park will commence sometime in August. The project has been in the works for almost half a decade and will cost the Authority around $10 million to complete.
The road itself will connect over the Mill Creek portion of the Morris Canal via a bridge that’s set to include one vehicular lane in each direction plus a sidewalk and bike lanes. The roadway would give motorists a shortcut to Liberty State Park from Downtown Jersey City and vice versa, as the park is only accessible from Downtown on foot. The Ethel Pesin Liberty Footbridge, which was rebuilt following extensive damage during Hurricane Sandy, is currently the only direct link between the areas.
The new road, which will have a portion inside the park called Mill Creek Lane, will connect with the already existing roadways of Audrey Zapp Drive and Johnston and Phillip Streets, an intersection that is set to get a new traffic light installed. The road will have a 25-mph speed limit and get new wayfinding signage as well. Lighting and crosswalk improvements are slated for the project, which will maintain pedestrian and bicycle access via the footbridge throughout the construction.
Plans for the roadway bridge have historically faced some opposition from Downtown residents, who feared it would encourage commuters to use local streets for access to the Holland Tunnel. The roadway project is getting built in a neighborhood where a population increase seems likely; the 392-unit 88 Regent development has already broken ground nearby and a massive project from Quadrum Global has been proposed for several parcels near the road.
While it remains to be seen how many new residents will be added to the area, the Turnpike Authority hopes to have the extension project completed by December 2021. When finished, control of the roadway will be turned over to Jersey City.