ROXBURY, NJ - Some eastbound drivers on Route 80 in Roxbury will be forced to take a crossover lane onto the westbound shoulder tonight to accommodate the Route 46 bridge replacement project in Roxbury, said the state Department of Transportation (DOT) today.

The traffic shift will begin at 10 p.m. tonight, (Friday, May 11) and last until 7 a.m. tomorrow (May 12), said the state.

It said its contractor on the bridge job, Ferreira Construction Co., "is scheduled to install construction barriers and re-stripe to establish a long-term traffic shift" on the highway. The speed limit will be reduced to 50 mph in the construction zone located above Route 46, said the DOT.

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"The traffic shift will move the existing left lane on I-80 eastbound onto a crossover lane on the I-80 westbound left shoulder, which is separated from westbound traffic by construction barriers," said the state. "The existing middle and right lanes on I-80 eastbound also will be shifted left onto a temporary bridge constructed in the median between I-80 eastbound and westbound."

The DOT said Route 80 eastbound traffic "will maintain three travel lanes at all times during construction to minimize impacts to motorists."

It noted that traffic shifts using the right shoulder as a through lane in each direction was established last fall, first on the westbound side and later on the eastbound side to "facilitate construction of the temporary bridge."

The $15.1 million federally-funded project will advance in stages, said the DOT. First will come the replacement of the eastbound bridge, followed by the westbound bridge, it said.

"Each 2-span concrete bridge will be replaced by single-span steel girder structure with concrete bridge decks," said the DOT. "The vertical clearance will be raised to 14 feet-9 inches to improve safety for tall vehicles on Route 46, and existing guiderail will be upgraded to current standards. In addition, the bridge piers currently located underneath each bridge will be demolished."

The state said a temporary Route 80 bridge, with two travel lanes, was built in the median, and a third lane will be provided on each new bridge to maintain three travel lanes in each direction. The work is expected to be finished by early 2020, according to the DOT.

"Variable message signs and lane closure signs will be utilized throughout the project limits to provide advance notification to motorists of all traffic pattern changes associated with the bridge replacement project," said the state. "The precise timing of the work is subject to change due to weather or other factors. Motorists are encouraged to check NJDOT's traffic information website www.511nj.org for real-time travel information and for NJDOT news follow us on Twitter @NJDOT_info and on the NJDOT Facebook page."