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Why Does It Cost So Much to Maintain New Jersey’s Roads?

Heavy trucks, heavy traffic, and aging infrastructure all play a part in driving up costs

The high cost of road work in New Jersey was the subject of a recent study by Rutgers University Voorhees Transportation Center, whose researchers tallied the costs of planning, building, operating, and maintaining the state’s highway system.

“What we found was that, on average, based on a review of annual expenditures over a period of five years, that costs were approximately $183,000 per lane mile,” said Rutgers Voorhees Transportation Center Director Jon Carnegie.

Several factors contribute to the high price of road work in the state. “We have some of the oldest transportation infrastructure in the nation and that means it’s going to be more costly to repair it,” said NJDOT Communication Director Steve Schapiro.

Schapiro pointed out that not only is New Jersey one of the most densely populated states, it is also a corridor state for heavy trucks that break up the roads. And, he said, “We have to keep our roads open and traffic flowing as best as possible, which means a lot of our work has to be done at night and unfortunately the cost of doing work at night is quite a bit more expensive than doing construction during the day.”

A second phase of the Rutgers study to give a detailed breakdown of costs was shelved when funding for it dried up because of the impasse over how to finance the Transportation Trust Fund. Sen. Ray Lesniak (D-Union) wants that phase of the study reinstated, even before the TTF issue is resolved. He said the $60,000 cost of completing the research could save millions of dollars.

Read the full story on NJTV News Online, a content partner of NJ Spotlight.

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