This NJ bridge is the widest highway bridge in the entire world
As I drove from my home in Monmouth County to New York City the other night, it occurred to me that I have done that drive so many times that I barely pay attention anymore.
You know those drives that are so familiar to you that you do them by rote to the point where you could probably do it blindfolded?
But all of a sudden because of some weird bottleneck that afternoon, things slowed down on the Driscoll bridge.
For those of you who don’t know, it’s one of those bridges you may drive over all the time, but whose name you probably don’t even know.
It’s the one near Exit 127 on the Parkway.
It spans the Raritan River near its mouth in Raritan Bay.
The bridge connects the Middlesex County communities of Woodbridge on the north with Sayreville on the south.
So, at a time, when traffic was moving unusually slowly on the bridge, I was forced to take a good look around me, and at the bridge itself.
And I realized. This is freaking amazing.
I’ve driven in a lot of states all over the country and there is no bridge like this.
So I looked it up. With a total of 15 travel lanes and 6 shoulder lanes, it is said to be the widest motor vehicle highway bridge in the world by number of lanes and one of the world's busiest.
And it didn’t start out that way.
I know that when I started driving, it just didn’t seem like it could fit as many cars as it does now.
The original span was built with two lanes in each direction.
A second span was added in 1972, with each span serving five lanes of traffic.
It doesn’t seem that the bridge actually had any name when it was built in 1954.
At least I can’t find any information about its original name.
However, the bridge was formally renamed in 1974 for former Gov. Alfred E Driscoll, who advocated for and oversaw the construction of the Garden State Parkway, as well as for the NJ Turnpike.
The bridge had very narrow lanes, creating traffic bottlenecks for miles in each direction on the Garden State Parkway until it was widened.
The bridge was later restriped to have 15 lanes, 10 feet wide.
And that’s where we are right now.
Next time you approach this thoroughfare, for many of you, into the big city, look at it from afar and realize that you’ve taken it for granted because it really is an engineering feat.
Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco only.
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