Overview: The immensely wide expressway running from southwest to northeast is the New Jersey Turnpike, I-95. The expressway running east-west is known as I-287 west of the interchange, and NJ 440 east of it. The local road running parallel to and east of I-95 is Woodbridge Road. A connector road runs between I-95 and the rest of the roadways, and passes through a toll plaza between the two halves of the interchange.
Incidentally, I-95 used to leave the New Jersey Turnpike at this interchange. It follwed the turnpike from the George Washington Bridge to this point, and then turned westward for a few miles onto I-287. At the time, a proposed freeway would have carried I-95 southward from I-287 to Trenton; this plan has since been shot down, and I-95 now folowd the Turnpike further south, to I-276.
From I-95, this interchange is numbered as Exit 10. Becuase it is the terminus of I-287, it is not numbered; exits are not numbered on NJ 440.
Interchange Description: The basic structure here is of a modified trumpet at I-95 and the Exit 10 connector road, which leads northeast into a five-way interchnage at Middlesex CR 514. The trumpet at the New Jersey is basically an ordinary trumpet interchange, with one modification. As each branch of the trumpet meets or leaves from the New Jersey Turnpike, it splits into two parts, one of which merges directly into the outer lanes. The other crosses over the outer lanes of the expressway and merges into the center lanes. This was done to accomodate the double-carriageway structure of the Turnpike without having traffic weaving through the outer lanes to reach the inner lanes.
The cloverleaf-esque intersection of I-287, NJ 440, CR 514, and the I-95 connector is a very well-designed method of moving traffic to and from five different directions, without cross traffic on any of the roads involved. The connections between I-287, NJ 440, and CR 514 are farily simple; all of the right turns are simple right-turn ramps, and two of the left turns are simple cloverleafs. The left turn movement from CR 514 northbound to I-287 westbound is served by a ramp just before the NJ 440 bridge, which crosses over NJ 440 and CR 514 before splitting to allow traffic to access I-287; traffic moving from NJ 440 westbound to CR 514 southbound exits after the CR 514 bridge, passes under I-287, and then splits to the left to join the ramp from I-287.
Lastly, the connector road to I-95 provides full connections to and from the rest of the roads in the interchange. Coming from I-95, after leaving the toll plaza, there is an exit right to CR 514 southbound. Moving counterclockwise around the southeast side of the interchange, the circular ramp then crosses CR 514. A ramp splits off to the right for NJ 440 eastbound, and the remainder of the traffic is then split between CR 514 northbound and I-287 westbound. Traffic bound for I-95 first merges into the left side of this circular road from CR 514 northbound, and then from a ramp which connects to NJ 440 eastbound and CR 514 southbound. Finally, just before the toll plaza, traffic from I-287 enters this roadway.
Advantages: This interchange is one of the more effectively designed in the metro New York area. It provides full connections between a number of main highways with no cross traffic and a minimum of weaving. Usually, five-way interchanges tend to be either massively expensive and expansive or huge bottlenecks for traffic (see NJ 24 & NJ 124); the design of this interchange manages to find a happy medium between the two.
Disadvantages: This interchange does have a small amount of weaving in one location: traffic on the ramp from CR 514 southbound to NJ 440 eastbound and the ramp from I-287 eastbound to CR 514 northbound (the two cloverleaf ramps at the center of the interchange) must weave. It appears as if a large amount of weaving might occur on the circular ramp which connects to the Exit 10 toll plaza; however, this is actually not the case. All of the traffic leaving I-95 exits from the right side of this road, while all of the traffic entering I-95 enters from its left side. As a result, no weaving occurs on this road. (An interesting side effect of this is a large number of redundant connections: for example, northbound traffic on CR 514 can exit to I-95 and I-287, weave across a lane or two, and exit from the circular ramp directly back to CR 514 northbound. Southbound traffic can do the same, by exiting for I-95, passing under I-287, and exiting left again for CR 514 southbound.)