Interstate 295 – Delaware Valley
Interstate 295 in the Delaware Valley forms a commuter route serving Wilmington, Delaware, South Jersey, Trenton and Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Orientated as a bypass route for Philadelphia, the freeway generally serves local traffic, with through traffic taking either the parallel New Jersey Turnpike, or Interstate 95 through southeastern Pennsylvania.
Interstate 295 crosses the twin span Delaware Memorial Bridge between New Castle, Delaware and Pennsville Township, New Jersey. Interstate 295 between Dupont Parkway at Farnhurst and the New Jersey Turnpike at Deepwater is maintained by the Delaware River and Bay Authority (DRBA). Signing practices along this stretch differs from Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) and New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) standards.
Through South Jersey, I-295 serves rural areas of Salem an Gloucester Counties to Paulsboro, Woodbury and Bellmawr to the south of Camden. There the route converges with the east end of Interstate 76, making a dog leg northward along side the North South Freeway to Mount Ephraim.
Turning more east, Interstate 295 winds through the communities of Haddon Heights, Barrington, Lawnside and Cherry Hill Township to Burlington County. The freeway and New Jersey Turnpike parallel one another closely on the northeastern swing through Mount Laurel Township before separating at Westampton Township. I-295 stays closer to the Delaware River, bypassing Burlington to Bordentown and the Trenton vicinity.
The northernmost extent of I-295 follows the Trenton Beltline through Hamilton and Lawrence Townships to U.S. 1. Prior to 2018, I-295 ended opposite Interstate 95 at their exchange with U.S. 1 north of Trenton. Sign changes made from January to March 2018 in Mercer County, New Jersey, and through late Spring 2018 in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, renumbered Interstate 95 between Bristol, PA and U.S. 1 as an extension of Interstate 295. This included the Scudders Falls Bridge, which is being rebuilt as a tolled crossing.
The new flyover ramps linking Interstate 95 with the Pennsylvania Turnpike interchange at Bristol opened to traffic on September 23, 2018.17 Completion of the missing link coincided with the realignment of I-95 onto the Pennsylvania Turnpike east and the New Jersey Turnpike north to Exit 6.
High Priority Corridor
Interstate 295 is part of High Priority Corridor 64: Camden-Philadelphia Corridor.
Pennsylvania Turnpike / Interstate 95 Interchange Project
Origins of the Pennsylvania Turnpike/Interstate 95 Interchange Project date back to 1969 with the opening of I-95 through Bucks County and plans to link it with the Turnpike. Legislation at the time prohibited federal funds from being used to connect an Interstate highway to a toll road, so the two were never connected. Subsequent studies by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) were held in 1975-77 to build the connection. The Federal Surface Transportation Assistance Act in 1982 specified that I-95 be completed through a new interchange with i-276 to connect it with the New Jersey Turnpike via the Delaware River Turnpike Toll Bridge. PA Act 61 authorized the PA Turnpike Commission to construct the interchange in 1985, which was envisioned as a slow speed trumpet to trumpet interchange through studies conducted between 1984-88.1
Studies from 1992 to 2003 by the PA Turnpike Commission1 and Community Advisory Committee (CAC) discussions throughout the 1990s and early 2000s2 involved a high-speed direct interchange between I-95 and I-276. This led to completion of a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and a Record of Decision (ROD) issued by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Initial proposals involved extending Interstate 295 southwest from Lawrenceville along Interstate 95 to the Pennsylvania Turnpike at Bristol. Design work for the new exchange started in 2004. The preliminary design was completed by 2008.1
Before construction broke ground, New Jersey and Pennsylvania petitioned AASHTO to extend Interstate 195 west from Hamilton Township over I-295 north to Lawrenceville and over I-95 southwest to Bristol as part of the Pennsylvania Turnpike/Interstate 95 Interchange Project. This was conditionally approved on May 4, 2007, with final approval expected once construction was complete.
Although construction had yet started on the ramps linking I-95 and I-276, renumbering changes were again made, with the Pennsylvania Turnpike web site referencing Interstate 395 as the new designation for I-95 between I-276 at Bristol and I-295 at Lawrenceville. This coincided with leaving I-295 in place from Lawrenceville southward.
The I-395 numbering was never finalized and the plan prior to 2007 of extending I-295 west to Bristol, Pennsylvania was again submitted to AASHTO in 2015. The FHWA approved the renumbering of I-95 as an extension of I-295 on May 20, 2015. This coincided with approval of realigning I-95 east over I-276 from Bristol into New Jersey.
The often delayed PA Turnpike / I-95 Interchange Project was initially thought to commence in 2007 and be completed in 2010. Initial construction finally started in 2010. Work not only involved the addition of ramps linking I-95 and 276, but also adjacent projects. This included a new mainline toll plaza for I-276 and widening of the Turnpike mainline.
Stage 1 construction through 2018 involved the aforementioned main line plaza, the two flyover ramps needed to realign the I-95 mainline, and work at the Bristol Interchange with U.S. 13. Stage 2, adds the remainder of the ramps linking Interstates 95, 276 and 295, with work underway from 2017 onward. Anticipated for 2025 or later, Stage 3 will add a second Delaware River span for northbound traffic along the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
$1.2 million in sign changes underway from January to March 2018 replaced around 200 assemblies for I-95 in Mercer County, New Jersey to show Interstate 295. Subsequent sign work started in Spring 2018 replaced signs along I-95 from the Scudders Fall Bridge southwest to the PA Turnpike Interchange with I-276 at Bristol. With I-95 relocated onto the PA and NJ Turnpikes, I-295 gained 19 miles. The I-295 exit numbering continues west to the Pennsylvania state line at the Delaware River. This stretch is signed as a north/south route while the former I-95 freeway in Bucks County is signed with east/west cardinal directions. Exit numbers in Pennsylvania count up from the PA Turnpike to Exit 10 for New Hope and Yardley.16
Modernization of the DRBA-maintained section of I-295 in Delaware is almost complete. Previous work started in the late 1990s rebuilt the northbound lanes between the split with I-95 to U.S. 13/40 (Dupont Highway) at Farnhurst. Construction replaced original concrete east to the cloverleaf interchange with Delaware 9. The last phase of the I-295 Delaware Memorial Bridge Approach Road Rehabilitation project commenced on February 15, 2016. Rebuilding the freeway southbound from U.S. 13/40 (Dupont Highway) to the ramps with I-495 and I-95, the $33.7 million construction runs through Spring 2019.15
I-295/I-76/Route 42 Direct Connection
Major construction started in March 2013 at the present overlap between Interstates 76 and 295 at New Jersey 42 (North South Freeway) at Bellmawr. The old configuration took I-295 north along side I-76 through a series of ramps requiring motorists to slow to 35 miles per hour. This included the AI-Jo curve (named after a former nightclub adjacent to the ramp), the 180 degree loop ramp joining I-295 south with NJ 42 south. Split into four major construction contracts and costing $900 million, work will realign the I-295 mainline to pass over the North South Freeway and eliminate the present overlap and weaving traffic pattern.3
Contract 1, costing $159 million, was awarded on January 18, 2013 with ceremonial groundbreaking on the overall project taking place March 12, 2013.3 Contract 1 work through Fall 2016 affected Interstate 295 west of Essex Avenue and NJ 42 while primarily focusing on work to eliminate the express/local configuration of the North South Freeway at Gloucester City.
Bids for Contract 2 were opened on December 19, 2013, with a low bid of $152.6 million.4 This contract was awarded on February 7, 2014 for reconstruction of I-295 east from the North South Freeway to NJ 168, with adjacent work on Ramps B, C and D. The completion date was December 15, 2017.
Contract 3 is scheduled to run from Winter 2016 to Winter 2021. It involves construction of the new I-295 mainline over the North South Freeway. Contract 4 rounds out the work between spring 2020 and winter 2023, with final ramp movements completed for Ramp B, C and F.
Dan Boris provides a photo blog of the project at I-295/I-76/Route 42 Direct Connection
Scudder Falls Bridge
Originally estimated to cost $140 million in 2014, the $328-million Scudder Falls Bridge Replacement Project across the Delaware River was approved by the FHWA on June 14, 2012 after nine years of study. Renumbered as Interstate 295 in 2018, construction expands a 4.4 mile stretch of freeway between Pennsylvania 332 in Bucks County and Bear Tavern Road in Ewing Township, New Jersey. The four-lane bridge over the Delaware, built between 1959 and 1961, will be replaced with a nine-lane span.5
Preparation work for construction of the new Scudder Falls Bridge started on January 4, 2016 with tree removal on both sides of I-95 between PA 332 and Taylorsville Road in Lower Makefield. This allowed for the installation of sound walls by Spring 2016. Tree clearing on the New Jersey side of the river started in fall 2016. Four and a half years of road construction to build the new twin span begin in early 2017.6 The first span should open in Spring 2019.14 Stage three of roadwork extends to Summer 2021.
Tolling will be implemented when the first of the new bridges opens for southbound traffic. The Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission approved E-ZPass rates of $1.25 for passenger vehicles and $2.60 for Toll-by-Plate traffic on September 26, 2016.14 Associated work redesigned the interchange with New Jersey 29 along the Delaware River to incorporate two roundabouts.
North End – Levittown, PA
South End – Newport, DE
Total Mileage – 93.77
Delaware – 5.71
Cities – New Castle, Wilmington
- Junctions –
New Jersey – 76.56 (68.06*)
Cities – Camden, Trenton
- Junctions –
Pennsylvania – 11.1#
Cities – Yardley, Langhorne
- Junctions –
Source: New Jersey Department of Transportation’s (NJDOT) 2015 Straight Line Diagrams (SLD)
# – estimate
* – December 31, 2018 Interstate Route Log and Finders List
I-295 Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT)
Maintenance, signage, and policing of Interstate 295 between U.S. 13 & 40 and U.S. 130 is the responsibility of the Delaware River and Bay Authority (DRBA). The DRBA is partially funded by tolls collected on the Delaware Memorial Bridge.
The 2013-23 upgrade of the I-76/295 interchange eliminated the dual roadway of the North South Freeway that coincided with movements to and from I-295.
Interstate 295 was opened north from New Jersey 73 to Burlington County 537 on April 27, 1969. The remainder of the freeway north to Bordentown was completed by December 1974.13
The cancellation of the Somerset Freeway resulted in the decades old gap of Interstate 95 between Trenton and New Brunswick.
The Trenton Complex, involving the western extent of I-195, NJ 29 leading north into Downtown, and I-295 south to Bordentown, cost $400 million. Work on the I-295 portion started in 1990.8
The Interstate 295 connection with I-95 in Delaware opened in conjunction with the Delaware Turnpike in 1963. East of U.S. 13 & 40 (Dupont Parkway), the freeway opened in 1951 as the approach for the Delaware Memorial Bridge.
Within New Jersey, Interstate 295 was designated in 1958. Work was completed on the southern most stretch in 1968. The overlap with U.S. 130 upgraded 1948 and 1954 controlled-access expressway segments. Further north, work was completed between 1958 and 1974.7 The connection with Interstate 195 east of Trenton however was not completed until December 22, 1994, when 3.1 miles of I-295 opened between U.S. 130 & 206 and I-195.8
Prior to 1993, Interstate 295 ended midway between I-95 Exits 4 (NJ 31) and 5A/B (Federal City Road), at a roadway separation along the Trenton Belt Line reserved for an interchange with the Somerset Freeway. The Somerset Freeway was the planned alignment for Interstate 95 between Ewing and New Brunswick at Interstate 287. It was formally canceled in 1982. This left the I-295 north end point at a somewhat arbitrary location. Changes were made in 1993 to have I-295 begin and end at a major interchange (U.S. 1) instead of a random place.9 This resulted in I-95 gaining three miles, with interchanges from Federal City Road east to U.S. 1 renumbered.
Delaware Memorial Bridge
With construction authorized in April 194510 and starting on February 1, 1949,11 the first span of the Delaware Memorial Bridge opened on August 15, 1951 at a cost of $44 million.10 The second span was dedicated on December 12, 1968,11 with the original span closed three days later for renovation. Both spans were available to traffic on December 29, 1969. The bridge is the longest twin-span suspension bridge in the world. Rising to a height of 188 feet, the main spans are 2,150 feet long. Combined with the side spans, the bridges total length is 3,650 feet.10
West End – Bristol Pennsylvania
Former North End – Lawrence Township, New Jersey
South End – Newport, Delaware
|Perspective from Interstate 295 south|
|Leaving the Farnhurst Interchange with U.S. 13 (Dupont Parkway), Interstate 295 proceeds northwest to the directional T interchange with I-95 and I-495. Work between February 2016 and December 2018 reconstructs this stretch of I-295 southbound. Photo taken 10/03/14.|
|Interstate 495 separates from Interstate 95 north nearby to bypass Wilmington by the Port of Wilmington, Edgemoor and Claymont. Photo taken 10/03/14.|
|Interstates 95 & 495 north pass over Interstate 295 at the northbound on-ramp for the city of Wilmington. I-95 serves the city central business district and interests northward to West Chester via U.S. 202 (Concord Pike). Photo taken 10/03/14.|
|The two southbound lanes of Interstate 295 default onto the left side of I-95 toward Newark and the tolled John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway to Baltimore. Exit 5 (I-95 numbering convention) departs at the merge for Delaware 141 (Newport Freeway) north. Photo taken 10/03/14.|
|Full coverage of Interstate 295 south at Interstate 95 posted at the AARoads Delaware guide for Interstate 295 south.|
|Perspective from Interstate 95 north|
|Traffic from Delaware 1, a north-south toll road joining Dover with the Wilmington area, ties into Interstate 95 north ahead of Christina Marsh. This stretch was expanded to ten overall lanes in 2007-08 due to heavy traffic volumes at the forthcoming split with Interstate 295. Photo taken 10/05/14.|
|Two lanes separate from Interstate 95 (Delaware Turnpike) north for Interstate 295 north to the Delaware Memorial Bridge. Local ramps also depart from the right for U.S. 202 & Delaware 141 (Basin Road) south to New Castle and the Newport Freeway north. Photo taken 12/19/16.|
|Four lanes continue north along Interstate 95 to the adjacent wye interchange with Interstate 495 north. Both routes serve Wilmington and reconvene at the Pennsylvania state line near Claymont. Photo taken 09/27/14.|
|Interstate 295 begins at a unnumbered exit from I-95 north. A c/d roadway for Delaware 141 (Exit 5B) quickly follows.
This exchange regularly sees traffic counts over 150,000 vehicles per day (vpd). During peak travel times, such as holidays and summer weekends, it is not uncommon to encounter long back ups stretching west to Delaware 273. Photo taken 09/27/14.
|Historic Perspective from Interstate 95 north|
|Photos covering previous signage and lane allocations along I-95 north to the split with I-295 are posted on the Interstate 95 North – Delaware Archive page on AARoads.|
|Perspective from Interstate 95 & U.S. 202 south|
|Interstate 95 & U.S. 202 travel the Wilmington viaduct from 4th Street (SR 9) to Maryland Avenue (SR 4) on their 1.75 mile approach to Interstate 295. The freeway funnels commuters from Downtown Wilmington to Newark and other west and southern suburbs. Photo taken 09/27/14.|
|A left exit departs for I-295 north after the I-95 bridge over the Christina River. The upcoming exit serves both commuters between Wilmington and the New Castle area and long-distance travelers bound for the state of New Jersey. Photo taken 09/27/14.|
|New arrow-per-lane (APL) signs for Interstate 295 on I-95 south were erected by December 2017. The previously unnumbered ramp was numbered as Exit 5C with the changes. Photo taken 12/20/17.|
|Passing over a Norfolk Southern Railroad, just ahead of the northbound off-ramp for I-295 on Interstate 95 & U.S. 202 south. Beyond the ramp, I-95 merges with I-495 south at a wye interchange before entering a cloverleaf interchange with U.S. 202 south and Delaware 141 (Newport Freeway / Basin Road). Photo taken 09/27/14.|
|Interstate 295 curves southeast to Farnhurst, where it combines with U.S. 40 east to the Delaware Memorial Bridge and New Jersey Turnpike. I-295 between I-95 and U.S. 13 (Dupont Parkway) opened in 1963, while I-95 through Wilmington did in 1965. Photo taken 09/27/14.|
|Installed by December 2017, this APL overhead replaces the previous steel truss sign bridge by the Christina River. Photo taken 12/20/17.|
|The lane configuration along I-95 south changed in 2000 to incorporate a lane drop with the departing ramp for I-295. This changed again in 2014 with the emergency closure of the Christina River Bridge for I-495, as I-95 was restriped with three through lanes. The off-ramp for I-295 is otherwise unnumbered. Photo taken 09/27/14.|
|Full coverage of Interstate 95 south leading to I-295, including several interchange sequence signs, at Interstate 95 South – Delaware on AARoads.|
|Historic Perspective from Interstate 95 south|
|Previous looks at the left side ramp and approach of I-95 south to I-295 north posted at the Interstate 95 South – Delaware Archive page on AARoads.|
|Perspective from Interstate 495 south|
|Interstate 495 parallels the Christina River west from U.S. 13 (Dupont Parkway) to the wye interchange with I-95 south. Additional ramps from I-495 provide access to Interstate 295 north and the c/d roadway for Delaware 141 (Newport Freeway). Photo taken 12/25/12.|
|Two lanes of Interstate 495 south default onto the left side of I-95 south as a left exit departs for I-295 north. Photo taken 12/21/16.|
|The I-295 exit from Interstate 495 south combines with the ramp from I-95 south ahead of the Farnhurst Interchange with U.S. 13 and 40 (Dupont Parkway). Photo taken 12/25/12.|
|For the rest of the signs preceding the I-495 south approach to I-295 north and I-95 south, see Interstate 495 South – Delaware on AARoads.|
|Historic Perspective from Interstate 495 south|
|The connection from I-495 south to I-295 north has remained mostly unchanged over the years, with the exception of sign replacements. Older sign photos are posted on the Interstate 495 – Delaware Archive page on AARoads.|
- Background – Project Overview, PA TURNPIKE / I-95 INTERCHANGE PROJECT web site.
- “Re: I-95/Penna Turnpike Interchange” online posting by qguy, AARoads Forum, December 9, 2014.
- “N. J. officials open $900 million project for I-295 snarl.” Philadelphia Inquirer, March 3, 2013.
- “Re: NJ – 295/76/42 Direct Connection Construction” online posting by jeffandnicole, AARoads Forum, December 19, 2013.
- “I-95 Scudder Falls Bridge $328M replacement project receives approval.” The Times (Trenton, NJ), June 25, 2012.
- “CONSTRUCTION FOR NEW BRIDGE GEARS UP.” The Times (Trenton, NJ), January 5, 2016.
- Interstate 295 (New Jersey) (PhillyRoads).
- “Trenton Complex to open.” The Times (Trenton, NJ), December 22, 1994.
- “Re: I-95/Penna Turnpike Interchange” online posting by akotchi, AARoads Forum, December 8, 2014.
- About the Delaware Memorial Bridge. Delaware River and Bay Authority (DRBA) web site.
- Delaware Memorial Bridge (PhillyRoads).
- Martin, Ray. Personal Email.
- “A look back: Route 295.” Courier-Post, April 5, 2013.
- “Toll Schedule Approved for New Bridge.” Scudder Falls Bridge Replacement Project web site, accessed January 6, 2017.
- “I-295 Southbound Reconstruction Project near the Delaware Memorial Bridge to Commence Week of February 15, 2016.” Delaware River and Bay Authority, press release, February 12, 2016.
- “Drive north to go south … or is that west? Why they’re renumbering 95/295.” New Jersey 101.5, January 10, 2018.
- “Fifty Years in the Making — I-95 Finally Connects Maine to Florida With Opening of the ‘Missing Link’.” Construction Equipment Guide, October 1, 2018.
Page updated February 20, 2019.