Interstate 280 joins I-80 and the North Jersey suburbs in Morris County with the Oranges, Newark and the New Jersey Turnpike (I-95) in Hudson County. The 17.04-mile long freeway heads southeast from Parsippany-Troy Hills Township across Hatfield Swamp into Essex County at West Essex Park. Continuing through the borough of Roseland, I-280 ascends across Second Watchung Mountain into West Orange Township.
Turning southward, I-280 descends abruptly from First Watchung Mountain into the City of Orange. The freeway lowers below street level and parallels the NJTransit Morristown Line along an urban corridor into East Orange and the city of Newark at Roseville. Passing north of University Heights, I-280 partitions through a wye interchange (Exit 13) with the unbuilt Newark Midtown Freeway (New Jersey Route 75).
Elevating across southern reaches of Branch Brook Park, Interstate 280 proceeds east by Downtown Newark. The freeway spans the Passaic River across one of the few lift bridges in the Interstate System. The William J. Stickel Memorial Bridge connects Newark with the borough of East Newark and the town of Harrison.
I-280 runs along side the Northeast Corridor Line and Path transit into the town of Kearny. The urban loop concludes at ramps to both the West and East Spurs of the New Jersey Turnpike amid wetland areas along the Hackensack River.
Predating the establishment of the Interstate Highway System, the William J. Stickel Memorial Bridge over the Passaic River opened in 1949. The span was added to the Interstate system in 1971. Interstate 280 was constructed otherwise between 1960 and 1980.1