New Jersey Roads - NJ 81
NJ 81 is the once-unsigned freeway that links the NJ Turnpike at Exit 13A (was constructed well after the Turnpike opened) with US 1-9. Each refers to NJ 81 as leading to the other one, and that's about it. There are exits for Dowd and North Avenues off of NJ 81, and photos from those two roads are included here. NJ 81 was initially supposed to use Exit 13 along with I-278, and there are some ghost ramps there from where 81 would have tied in, but there is no ghost alignment of 81 at its current terminus.
Unsigned, you say? First of all, this was the only reference to NJ 81 that existed anywhere outside of NJDOT's own little world until 2007 or so, on North Avenue. Second of all, 81 itself was still unsigned at that point - Dowd Avenue may be signed as 81, but it's sure not the freeway. It was once NJ 164, but died when 81 opened just after my X and Y chromosomes met.
The first two signs are directly across from one another, and when they aren't being overgrown by shrubbery, each tells you to change to the other lane for its road. It would be much less confusing to have KEEP LEFT on the left and KEEP RIGHT on the right - I actually messed up when I passed through while taking these photos. These are all on Dowd Ave. WB.
Signage on North Ave. EB past Dowd Ave. The latter sign is for NORTH AVENUE EAST, ELIZABETH SEAPORT; the rightmost lane is involved in a U-turn ramp. The first sign is just as old as the BGS's on US 1-9 SB at the beginning of NJ 81 - in fact, all of the BGS's on and around NJ 81 are probably from when it was constructed. The sign assembly for the NJ Turnpike is cool because it has that little circular arrow.
Courtesy HNTB, WB signage on North Ave. that I somehow missed - or that was replaced.
On North Avenue WB, going straight merges you with NJ 81 shortly before it splits to US 1-9 NB and SB - so technically you could just follow that ramp to 1-9 SB, instead of following North Avenue WB to the left, underneath 81, and through Dowd Avenue.
Signage on NJ 81 NB (which equates more to WB than NB, but the main flow of traffic is between two NB-SB roads). The 1-9 SB ramp is probably overpowered, since traffic on 81 is largely using it to get to Newark Airport, and Elizabeth traffic probably would use Turnpike Exit 13.
NJ 81 SB, again showing the same style of BGS as on every road around it. Notice how NJ 81 is signed completely by its destinations.
The sign at the base of the SB ramp to Dowd Street/North Ave. WB.
As of 2008, forget unsigned. There's a BEGIN at either end of the highway, even if there aren't any reassurances on the short freeway, and at least a SB "END" if not a NB one as well. The first photo is courtesy Adam Moss.
Fairly standard Turnpike entrance sign, although the arrow placement is a little wonky. Enjoy the button copy while it lasts!
To US 1-9
To I-95, the NJ Turnpike
See more of Union County
NJ 81 on Steve Anderson's nycroads.com
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