BELLMAWR, NJ -- A retaining wall along I-295 in Bellmawr collapsed last week. The right lane of I-295 North from Exits 26 to 28 had to be closed and will remain closed until the wall is repaired. The retaining wall was part of the $800 million Direct Connection project being completed by South State General Contractors on behalf of the NJ Department of Transportation (NJDOT).
“This is an example of what happens when we invest in unnecessary highway widenings instead of real transportation solutions. This Direct Connection project is a massive boondoggle. They tore down historic properties like the Hugg-Harrison-Glover House as well as paving over wetlands and environmentally-sensitive land,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “This unnecessary project has been going on for years and years. They wasted $800 million on it, but they can’t even build a retaining wall correctly. This money would have been better spent expanding and improving mass transit.”
There has been debate over the construction of the interchange of 295/42/76 for over 30 years. The project started moving forward in 2013 when the NJDOT began hosting public information sessions on the topic. Over the years, the project has included tearing down the Hugg-Harrison-Glover House, which was originally built in 1720.
“This just shows how unnecessary and damaging highway widening projects are. This should be a wake-up call to the state to stop moving forward with the $16 billion in highway widening projects for the NJ Turnpike and GS Parkway. This money would be better spent building and electrifying the South Jersey Light Rail Line, bringing back train service to Atlantic City, and buying electric buses for Camden,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “If New Jersey really cared about commuters and keeping people safe, they would focus spending on mass transit and bridge repairs - not highway widenings.”
New Jersey Sierra Club press release