"This project will help the people of New Jersey and their economy," said LaHood. "Infrastructure investment like this creates jobs and helps local businesses."
"We are pleased with the Federal Highway Administration's record of decision," said New Jersey Governor Jon S. Corzine. "These are the kinds of infrastructure improvement projects that will get our economy moving and put our citizens back to work."
The record of decision signed last week by officials from the Federal Highway Administration allows the project's right-of-way acquisition and construction planning to begin. When completed, the improved interchange will improve safety and relieve congestion significantly.
The project - dubbed "Direct Connection" - calls for the reconstruction of the interchange to separate drivers on I-295 from local traffic. It will include new roadway and bridges and completes a missing link on I-295 that will allow drivers to continue straight through on the interstate.
Currently, I-295 drivers going through the interchange are forced to reduce speed drastically to merge onto 35-mph ramps also used by local traffic. The improvements will allow a safer drive without the dangerous merging and weaving movements on existing ramps.
Located in Camden County, N.J., near Bellmawr, Mt. Ephraim and Gloucester City, the interchange is considered one of the busiest in the region. It is a major carrier of Philadelphia commuter traffic via the Walt Whitman Bridge and is a connection to the southern New Jersey shore via Route 42 and the Atlantic City Expressway.
Construction is expected to begin in 2012.