NJ Transit study to advance Phila.-N.J. rapid transit plan

Posted: February 13, 2013

In the next step toward a bus rapid transit link between South Jersey and Philadelphia, NJ Transit is set to spend about $800,000 for an environmental study of the route.

The money is from a $2.6 million federal grant received last year to advance a proposed rapid-bus system along Route 55, Route 42, and I-676.

NJ Transit's board is expected to approve a contract Wednesday for $839,500 with engineering firm AECOM Technical Services Inc. of Newark, N.J. AECOM will conduct a yearlong assessment of the proposed route.

The $46 million project is one of several aimed at reducing South Jersey traffic congestion and easing the commute to and from Philadelphia.

A $900 million reconstruction of the I-295/I-76/Route 42 bottleneck and a proposed $1.6 billion, 18-mile light-rail line between Glassboro and Camden are also in the works.

The rapid-bus service could be in full operation by 2020, with some parts phased in before that. Construction could begin in mid-2014.

The rapid-bus system would allow rush-hour buses to travel in dedicated lanes, on highway shoulders and medians, for part of the trip to Philadelphia and would provide 1,800 new parking spaces for commuters in Winslow and Deptford Townships.

Buses would get priority from automated traffic signals to speed their trips. The Avandale-Philadelphia trip is slated to take about 40 minutes.

The plan is for buses to travel a 23-mile main line to Philadelphia from Avandale, in Winslow Township, with a branch that would take riders from Deptford along Route 55 to join the main line at its merger with Route 42.

An estimated 6,400 riders would use the route daily by 2035, according to NJ Transit projections.

The plan calls for 26 buses to run at 10- to 15-minute intervals during rush hours from Winslow to a location west of City Hall on Market Street.

The project would expand the Avandale park-and-ride lot on Route 536.

Contact Paul Nussbaum at 215-854-4587 or pnussbaum@phillynews.com.

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