New Jersey Roads - NJ 7/CR 506

and CR 506, Belleville Tpk.


There are two NJ 7's you will travel on if you follow NJDOT signage, and they have the most inconsistent signage of any NJ state highway. According to NJDOT straight-line diagrams, aka the official routings, you would see that the "western" NJ 7, which is signed north-south except along Kingsland Rd., does not in fact turn onto the drawbridge and enter Bergen County, but rather continues straight, unsigned from the ground, and ends a few blocks away at the Newark border. The "eastern" 7, which is east-west but has errant N-S signs, is signed over the drawbridge and on to the western 7, where it turns, but technically it just ended at NJ 21 as it crossed the Passaic River into Essex County. Technically, the Essex section of NJ 7 enters Passaic County once, where it turns onto Kingsland Rd. from Washington Ave. The second time, on Cathedral Ave., it dies just a few feet shy of the end it had for years, the logical one at NJ 3.
Western NJ 7


The first sign on the north-south part of NJ 7, on the Newark-Belleville border, was the first photo and now is the second photo (also showing that the road becomes CR 667 to the south). While NJ 7 may be signed along a continuous route, NJDOT meticulously ensures that its signal LGS's are fully compliant with the actual route.

The NB shield and sign are in great shape at CR 506/Belleville Ave.


NB along the actual NJ 7/CR 506 duplex, as opposed to the signed one that's really just CR 506. This one is just a block long.


Two problems here. One, you're already on NJ 7, and two, if you're going to point traffic to the right, it should be toward EAST 7, since that's the way it runs in Hudson County. This, if you haven't guessed, is NB on the semi-secret part of NJ 7, which should be legislated by a lazy DOT to just connect already.

Kingsland St. EB, NJ 7 SB, at Passaic Ave. in Nutley.


The SB side of the bridge adjacent to Kingsland Park in Nutley. The square bridge sign is old but common in Passaic County, while state-erected body-of-water signs as old as the Yantacaw one are very rare throughout New Jersey.


Southbound in Clifton, northbound in Nutley. Okay, reread that. I said southbound, not eastbound, because we're on Cathedral Ave. which runs north-south. NJ 7 is signed east-west on Kingsland Rd. for the most part, but then turns north-south again on Washington Ave. The same mistake is made on the NJ 3 eastbound offramp. The bigger mistake, though, is the lack of a TO shield, because NJ 7 doesn't begin until the MILE END sign at the Nutley-Clifton border, which is where the second photo comes in. I left enough background in the first photo to show you where the southbound MILE END sign is (the green smudge), and I left enough in the second photo to show you how far away/close NJ 3 is.
Eastern NJ 7


Eastbound over the Passaic River drawbridge, with NJ 21 in the foreground of the first photo. NJ 7 begins again at NJ 21 and CR 506 ends there, though it used to continue multiplexed to CR 508.


Too much is wrong here to contemplate. NJ 7 goes east-west only in Bergen and Hudson Counties, but most of the Bergen County two-lane section is signed north-south for some reason. CR 506 may or may not be duplexed; CR 506 once multiplexed with NJ 7 as far as CR 508, but it appears that CR 506 ends as I said above. That being said, CR 506 also never runs north-south, so the gold-on-blue county banner doesn't belong here. It also doesn't belong under the 7 shield in any case.
Ha, fooled you. There's nothing actually wrong here except some missing shields; this should be EAST 7 SOUTH 507, because those two routes are duplexed here.


This is too far east to be a milemarker, but that's only if you go by the idea that NJ 7 is east-west on this side of the Passaic River. Counting from the Charlotte Circle and heading north (instead of "west"), this does indeed fall at MP 5. Credit goes to the new Straight Line Diagrams (as of 2010) showing the entire road north-south instead of east-west, making this realization possible. Also give credit to Bill Mitchell for insisting this is a milemarker and forcing me to take a new look at it.

Below, photos from the old Belleville Turnpike, which looks like it didn't need to be bypassed (it's straight, not terribly narrow, and not too steep).


NJ 7 EB along the North Arlington-Kearny line. To the right is Arlington Memorial Park. To the left is pointed Porete Ave., but it's quite obvious (from the telephone poles and the way the road curves away from this dead-end) that the old Turnpike is to the left. Oh, and maps say it's the old Turnpike.


Driving down the old Turnpike, which starts off well-paved to accommodate trucks to and from the industries located on Porete Ave., and quickly becomes gravel and then rutted dirt paths. Even on a sunny day, the old Tunrpike ends up badly rutted and full of muddy puddles. My Taurus can't handle that, but someone with a rugged SUV could probably complete the entire alignment without leaving his/her car.




Facing the opposite direction at the lower/eastern end of the old Turnpike, looking back up toward the houses from where I took the other photos.


Original NJ 7 bridge as it crosses swampland, taken from the parallel Amtrak tracks (Amtracks?).


An exceptionally rare square county shield on a BGS. The sign on the right most likely predates I-280, and it's likely the original left sign had a square 508 and an NJTP shield, possibly on a square background itself, from when the Turnpike Exit 15W went directly to CR 508. It also might have had a 2di-width I-280 shield (scroll down to Fish House Road to see what I mean), though at least that was still replaced with a state-name shield. Now, the only square BGS shield is in the "tangle" on the Garden State Parkway ramp to US 9. If you click on this photo, you'll see what Chris Mason warned me about - the shields have all been replaced. No thanks to NJDOT.


This is the old Newark Turnpike, facing west toward where it would join up with CR 508 as the latter route settles into its century-old alignment. Everything's paved in stone, including the centerline, and there's a small piece of Newark Turnpike on the far side of the railroad tracks that prevent it from connecting straight through into CR 508. The NJ 7 shield atop this page is at the EB end of this short now-dead end, and one would probably U-turn on Fish House Road to get back to WB NJ 7 (since there is no reasonable U-turn to the east).


I'm not positive that the WB side necessarily has the older BGS's, since there is neither an (original) I-shield nor a tapering exit arrow on the EB side for comparison. This is one example of the rarity of EXIT ↓ ONLY being a continuous panel on older signs; there's another case of this on NJ 3. (Most are two panels with a white-on-green arrow between.) There must have been a TO that fell off of the WB sign. Anyway, if you click on the second sign, you'll see that the same fate has befallen the 2di I-280 shield (and the others) as the square 506 shield (and the others).


The replacement for the eastbound BGS above, although the Fish House Rd./NJ 7 interchange is due to be redesigned shortly (eliminating the inside trumpet, thankfully). What's interesting here is that the through BGS has a US 1-9 ampersand shield, a late 1990's style that disappeared in favor of the hyphen.


On Fish House Road NB at NJ 7. It's an internal trumpet - the ramp to 7 EB curls around inside the eastbound lanes, with a left merge, while Fish House SB leaves from the left side of 7 EB.


WB approaching the Wittpenn Bridge, a notoriously cantankerous old structure that will easily back rush hour traffic up a good hour for a ten-minute opening and has a special warning sign on US 1-9 Truck for when it's up. A matching railroad bridge is to the left (south). NJ's old iron structures like this one will be around forever.


Approaching 1-9 Truck - I guess since Alternate routes became A, and Business sometimes has become B, maybe Truck can become T. But I don't like it, especially because you now have two numbers, a letter, and a symbol on the same sign. I'm still coming to terms with the ampersand on 1-9 shields, myself. That's US 1-9, the Pulaski Skyway, in the background, with a BGS for the ramp where 1-9 exit and leave NJ 139 to run toward the Holland Tunnel.


EB approaching and then on the ramp for US 1-9 Truck SB. All of the BGS's for this new intersection push the limits of information, whether by having NORTH and SOUTH over separate arrows on the same sign, or putting TRUCK outside an ampersand shield (recent shields have dashes) when an adjacent shield has the T inside.


Looking north from the beginning of NJ 7 WB in 2011 as the new US 1-9 Truck viaduct takes shape. Years from now, NJ 7 will cross a new Wittpenn Bridge and tie directly into it.
Onto CR 506 alone

To the Garden State Parkway
Onto CR 507
Onto US 1-9 Truck, aka 1-9T
To US 1-9
To I-280 on CR 508
To I-95, the NJ Turnpike, on CR 508
Onto NJ 17
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