New Jersey Roads - NJ 440/CR 501 - Northern
Northern and NJ 440/CR 501
This is the architecturally acclaimed Bayonne Bridge, rising gracefully out of its namesake city southward toward Staten Island. It held several records for arch bridges once, and may still have a couple.
The view from Front St. in Elizabeth features structural upgrades and a crumbling shipyard on Shooters Island, notable for being the most difficult land border between NY and NJ to access.
Getting a little closer, from 1st St. WB.
Closest of all, southbound into Staten Island as the Port Authority is preparing to raise the span, ruining its profile, for the sake of keeping NY/NJ ports viable with Panamax shipping. Unfortunately, raising the arch to preserve the profile was deemed too much work and cost.
SB starting from the middle of Bayonne, where you can see the Ocean Terminal had a different name (when the name was also button copy). In fact, it's still called MOTBY, or the Military Ocean Terminal of Bayonne (I guess MOTB just didn't zing enough as is). You may also notice MM 19 in the fourth photo, which shows that NJ accounts for NY 440's mileage. The last photo is on the Avenue A ramp; the dual left and right merges ahead are where CR 501 (designated TEMPORARY NJ 440 while the bickering continued over the freeway) originally launched onto the bridge, pre-completion of NJ 169.
NB in the same area, with the first photo on the first NB ramp, where CR 501 NB exits its secret NY multiplex with 440 and returns to the surface. It's very unusual to see Keep Right instead of KEEP RIGHT - not to mention it's not centered.
Continuing NB, NJ 185 sure gets a lot of credit for a mile-long route that dumps into a bunch of garbagey fields. I mean, yeah, you can get to Liberty State Park eventually, but it's not very scenic. It's faster and easier, but tolled, to turn off to I-78 instead. It's interesting that NJ 440 exits from itself - this of course avoids a left turn, but with the open land there, a 3-Y interchange would have made more sense than the current configuration where SB 440 traffic comes to a traffic light with left or right turn options, while NB 440 traffic is freeflow from both 440 NB and 185 SB.
Ending on the SB jughandle ramp that takes traffic across NJ 440 to the NJ Turnpike. There are a total of three left turns to get traffic around to the Turnpike, since the proximity of the railroad tracks just to the west prevents a southbound slip ramp to the westbound Turnpike (I-78) onramp. These BGS's, more so than most on the NJ 169 part of NJ 440, look like they once had NJ 169 shields - I have confirmation on the historical NJ 169 page thanks to Bill Mitchell (see big link at bottom). In this case, the 440 wasn't a patch over the 169, but rather both were on the sign, so the shield and the South lettering were moved into place. Can't do that without button copy.
Pulaski St. WB, and then, after turning right, at Port Jersey Blvd.
Looking south at the I-78 Newark Bay Bridge and the adjacent upstream railroad bridge.
I thought there was only one original backlit Turnpike gantry left, on the mainline southbound at Exit 6. Then I was donated a photo of one on the I-78 Turnpike Extension at Exit 14B, just east of here. After that, I found my own on the Turnpike Pennsylvania Extension, but I was convinced all the other ones were gone, especially because of all the I-78 photos I have (link at bottom), none of them are up on the freeway anymore. Well, even though I had been told that this was likely gone, it's not. Click on each of the overhead signs in this photo to see a non-backlit closeup of one of the original Turnpike signs, over 60 years old but sadly not long for this world due to upcoming interchange reconstruction. The button copy "speed limit" sign is already gone.
Finishing up SB, on the E-W portion of former NJ 169 that parallels to the north the higher-up I-78 Newark Bay Turnpike Extension. I think the BGS on the left in the first photo is new as of the redesignation to 440, not patched, though the one on the right was definitely part of NJ 169.
Yup, several miles after Avenue A, we've made it to Avenue C. Of course, lettered avenues are N-S in Bayonne, and NJ 440 swung way to the east before heading back west and finally turning westward. Next, old NJ 169 will turn southward ("backward" for NJ 440 NB) under I-78, dip around to the right, and pass back under I-78 onto the brief existing freeway segment of NJ 440. Originally, the reverse movement was accomplished via a flyover loop ramp, and there was a freeway stub to the south. I assume this reassurance was intended to help traffic coming from NJ 169 that had just passed through the confusion of an interchange that had only one way to go and suddenly found themselves on a different route now. CR 501 (Temporary NJ 440) let traffic on a half mile up the road at another trumpet, the only other interchange on the completed NJ 440 freeway before it reverts to an expressway and then an arterial. The NJ 169 trumpet interchange was an extension; the original "freeway" just tied into CR 501 at the current trumpet.
Here's what I'm talking about. NJ 440 SB comes in from the left and now swings around in a 180 to head back under I-78. It used to go straight and loop to the right around the little bulb of land sticking into Newark Bay, then back over the freeway. Notice that the southern (right) edge of the bulb is cut off rather flatly and suddenly - it was to have been extended southward along open water, carrying the NJ 440 freeway with it. There is a park or two on land that did get built out that far in anticipation of the freeway, but there just wasn't enough connected land to overcome the resistance and get the road done.
NB at the end of NJ 440. The BRIDGE sign with arrow refers to a drawbridge on US 1-9 Truck that occasionally opens; traffic backs up very quickly on that route, and it just might be faster to go north to, say, US 1-9, and come south again.
At some point, something must have closed the left turn from NJ 440 NB to US 1-9T SB. This is a terrible detour, though, because it goes over a mile north to a perennially congested road that can easily take 20 minutes just to get from Sip Ave. (second traffic light) to the jughandle (third light). I'm no truck driver, but I feel like it's worth the risk to turn right on one of the residential roads and take Mallory Ave. up to Communipaw. Unwieldy and annoys the residents, but hella faster. (Damn, this is actually the second use of "hella" on my site. I feel trite.) So, in closing: a terrible shield for a terrible detour.
The first SB reassurance shield.
To southern NJ 440
Onto CR 501 alone
Historical NJ 169
Back to NJ 440 main page
Into NY on NY 440
Onto the NJ Turnpike at I-78
To I-95, the mainline Turnpike
Onto NJ 185
Onto US 1-9 Truck
See more of Hudson County
Unbuilt NJ 440 freeway on Steve Anderson's nycroads.com
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