History of NJ's First Highway System

New Jersey's original numbered highway system was first legislated in 1916. Before this time most primary roads in the state had trail numbers which bore no resemblance to the highway numbers. The descriptions of the original 16 routes are found on their own pages. Route descriptions of the later highways, and extensions of the original routes, are found here. Some of these were never built; others were never numbered until after the First Renumbering.

Beginning in 1916, with the passage of Chapter 285, PL, 1916, known as the Egan Bill, an original system of 13 routes was designated throughout the state. This is detailed in the DOT Annual Report for 1916, pp. 90-92.

The following year, the Edge Bill, or Chapter 14, PL, 1917, also provided for a state highway system, and also provided more details as to responsibilities, funding, maintenance, etc. This bill also increased the number of routes to 15. The routes are described in the DOT annual Report for 1917, pp. 19-22, while the law itself is repeated on pp. 87 ff.

By 1921, the Edge Bill had been modified to include 16 separate routes, and some expansions to the original ones from 1917. A lot of these changes are detailed in Chapter 322, PL. 1921 and others. Many of the details can be found in the DOT Annual Report for 1921, pp. 115-116.

By 1923, additional routes had been added to the system, in the form of public law (PL). These additional routes included two different Route 17's, three different Route 18's, a Rt. 19, two different Route 20's, and two un-numbered route in the southern part of the state.

The problem at that time was that the routes were being designated through public laws, assembly and senate bills, with no central organizing oversight. Local politicians would propose a route in their district and try to get it through both houses. Because of this haphazard system, as each bill was written up, the staff would use the next available number. Since many times similar types of bills were being introduced, the same route number would be specified in more than one bill. As these bills were considered and passed, either no one cared, or for reasons of political power plays, sponsors would not yield "their" number to other sponsors, resulting in routes with the same number. Since the bills were voted into law, the Highway Commission did not have the power to modify routes, including the route number. The best they could do was to utilize a "north-south" designation.

In 1926, a proposed Route numbering system consisting of 30 routes eliminated the duplicate numbers and assigned new numbers to some unnumbered routes. However, this system was never adopted. By 1927, a revised Route numbering system, involving now 40 routes, was adopted by the Highway Department. I also believe that route designation was taken out of the hands of the legislature at this time, and given to the State Highway Commission.

1926 Renumbering   1927 Renumbering (FR)   Numbering Evolution  

Extensions by Legislative Action During 1922

1922, Chap. 253 Extension of Route #1, From the entrance of the vehicular tunnel under the Hudson River in Jersey City, thru the City of Jersey City and the County of Hudson, to, through and beyond the City of Newark in the County of Essex, through and beyond the City of Elizabeth in the County of Union to the point of beginning of said Route #1.

1922, Chap 253 and 265 Extension of Route #2, From the terminal point of said route at the city line of the City of Camden, thru the said City of Camden to the approach or entrance of the bridge proposed to be constructed over the Delaware River by the States of New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

1922, Chap 265 Extension of Route #2, Including a spur extending from the property line of the Tacony-Palmyra Ferry Company to the Burlington Pike at Five Points.

1922, Chap 253 Extension of Route #3 From the entrance to the bridge over the Delaware River, thru the City of Camden, to the beginning of Route #3.

1922, Chap 253 Extension of Route #6, From the entrance to the bridge over the Delaware River, thru the City of Camden, to the beginning of Route #6.

Routes added by legislative action during 1923

1923 Chap 5,177,181,183,184 Route No. 17-N From Newark, by way of Kearney, Rutherford, Hackensack, Ridgewood and Ramsey to the New York State Line.

1923 Chap 199 Route No. 17-S From a point on route No. 6 at Westville and continuing through Thorofare, Paulsboro, Gibbstown, and Bridgeport and thence to Penn's Grove, in the County of Salem, connecting at said point with the proposed State Highway.

1923 Chap 181,183 Route No. 18-S From Penn's Grove, by way of Sharpstown, Woodstown, Pole Tavern, Elmer, Malaga, Buena, Mays Landing, Pleasantville to Atlantic City.

1923 Chap 197 Route No. 18-N From Hoboken to New York State line by way of Weehawken, West Hoboken, town of Union, North Bergen, Fairview, Ridgefield, Palisade Park, Fort Lee, Englewood-Cliffs, Tenafly and Alpine.

1923 Chap 184 Route No. 18- From Camden to Merchantville, through Moorestown, Mount Holly, Pemberton, New Lisbon, Brown's Mills and Lakehurst to Toms River and ending at the junction of Route No. 4 with the Toms River-Lakehurst road at Toms River.

1923, Chap 182/183 Route No. 19- From a point on Route No. 14 at Seaville, by way of Palerma, Marmora, Beesley's Point, Somers Point to Pleasantville and connecting with Route No. 4, at Absecon.

1923, Chap 177 Route No. 20- From a point on Route No. 3, extending by way of West Berlin, Gibbsboro and Haddonfield, connecting with Haddon Avenue in the Borough of Haddonfield, and continuing to approach to the Delaware River Bridge.

1923, Chap 182 Route No. 20- From Westville to Millville commence at a point on Route No. 6 at Westville, extending through Hurffville, Glassboro, Malaga and Vineland to Millville.

1923, Chap 201 Route No. - From Berlin to Blue Anchor, known as the "Berlin-Blue Anchor Road," thence from Blue-Anchor to Mays Landing, known as the "Mays Landing Road."

1923, Chap 202 Route No. - From Route No. 2 of the State Highway System at Five Points, in the county of Burlington, by way of Moporestown, Evesboro Cross Road, Medford and Atsion, to Route No. 3, of the State Highway System at Hammonton, in the county of Atlantic, to be numbered by the State Highway Commission, together with a spur from said route at Evesboro, in the county of Burlington, to Merchantville, in the county of Camden.

1923, Chap 177,181,182,183,184,199 Route #11 (As originally laid out, still to be disposed of) From Newark to Paterson by way of Bellville, Bloomfield, Nutley and Passaic.

1923 Chap 498 Route #11 (As taken over by the State Highway Commission). From Newark to Paterson by way of Bellville, Nutley, and Passaic.

Routes added by legislative action during 1924

1924, Chap. 233 Route -* From Trenton to Buttsville, by way of Pennington, Woodsville, Ringoes, Flemington, Clinton, crossing Route No. 9, Glen Gardner, Hampton, and Washington, crossing Route No. 12 to Route #5, including a spur extending from the Delaware River Bridge at Labbertville to Ringoes, and a spur from Flemington to White House, connecting with Route No. 9.

Routes added or extensions and modifications made by legislative action during 1925

1925, Chap 24-25 Route #7 Spur FROM FREEHOLD TO LAKEWOOD; beginning at Freehold, Monmouth County, New Jersey, and extending southwardly through Adelphia, Monmouth County, New Jersey, and from Adelphia over the route known as the "Ols Stage Road" to Lakewood, Ocean County, New Jersey, connecting with Route #4, at the junction of Madison Avenue and Route #4 in Lakewood, Ocean County, New Jersey.

1925, Chapter 196 Route #16-Ext. From Route #5 at the intersection of South Street and Park Place in Morristown and extending thence along Park Place, Market St., and Mount Kemble Avenue to the boundary line of Morristown, the present beginning point of said Route #16.

1925, Chapter 23--55 Modification of Route #18S FROM PENN'S GROVE TO ATLANTIC CITY; from the dock of the Penn's Grove, and Wilmington Ferry CO. at Penn's Grove, by way of Sharpstown, Woodstown, Pole Tavern, Elmer, Malaga, Buena, Mays Landing, Pleasantville to Atlantic City.

1925, Chap 55 Modification of Route #20 From Westville to Millville commencing at a point on Route No. 6 at Westville, and extending through Hurffville, Glassboro, Clayton, Franklinville, Malaga and Vineland, and thence to and through Landis Township in the County of Cumberlabnd to the City of Millville in said county, and thence connecting with Route #15.

1925, Chap 158 Route # * FROM SUSSEX TO PORT JERVIS: from Route #8 in the borough of Sessex by way and through High Point Park to the New York State line near Port Jervis, New York.

1925, Chapter 222 Route # * From Freehold to Mount Holly via the Old Monmouth Road.

1925, Chapter 224 Route # * FROM ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS TO KEYPORT; from the northerly end of the road known as the Ocean Boulevard at Atlantic Highlands, and thence continuing westerly and northerly through Leonardo, Ocean View, Port Monmouth, Keansburg, Union Beach, First Street, Keyport, and ending at State Highway #4 in the borough of Keyport, siad route being laid as near the shore front of Sandy Hook and Raritan Bay as practicable.

1925, Chapter 225 Route # * From Far Hills to the New York State Line at or near Tri-State, by way of Chester, Flanders, Netcong, Andover, Newton, Rosses Corner, Branchville, and Mainesville.

1925, Chapter 230 Route # * FROM MORRISTOWN TO HACKETTSTOWN; beginning at Park Place, Morristown, connecting with Route #5 at this point, and continuing through Mendham, Chester, Long Valley, and ending in Hackettstown at the intersection of Route #5 at the soldier's monument.

1925, Chapter 235 Route # * SOUTH AMBOY TO KEYPORT; from Mains Street and Stevens Avenue, South Amboy, and running thence (1) along Main Street, South Amboy, continued to the Cheesequake road, thence (2) along said Cheesequake road by way of Rose's corner southerly to the village of Cheesequake and from thence running (3) easterly at or near a point where said road intersects road from Cheesequake to Old Bridge to a point near Cheesequake known as Brown's Garage, at which point the Morristown Road and Mount Pleasant Road intersect and and running thence (4) southeasterly from Brown's Garage along the Mount Pleasant Road to a point where said road intersects the Old Bridge-Mattawan road, recently completed, thence (5) continuing along said road in a southeasterly direction to that part of Mattawan designated as Frenau and from thence running (6) along Main Street, Matawan, or same continued, in a northeasterly direction to a point where said road is intersected by a street known as Clark Street, Keyport, or Clark Street extended, and running thence (7) in an easterly direction along Clark Street to where this street intersects with State Highway Route #4.

1925, Chapter 240 Route # * FROM CAMDEN TO ATLANTIC CITY; from Camden to Mt. Ephraim. to Chews, to Blackwood, to Turnersville, to Cross Keys, to Williamstown, to Cecil, to Weymouth, to McKee City, to Pleasantville, to Atlantic City.

Routes added or extensions and modifications made by legislative action during 1926

1926, Chapter 14 Route # * NEW BRUNSWICK TO TRENTON; From New Brunswick to Trenton, which said road is known as the Straight turnpike and also as Trenton and New Brunswick turnpike.

1926, Chapter 46 Route # * ROSELLE PARK TO HILLSIDE TOWNSHIP; From a point on State Highway Route No. 9 in the borough of Roselle Park, Union County, and continuing through Roselle Park Borough, Union Township and Hillside Township to a point in Elizabeth Avenue, Hillside Township, Union County, paralleling the Lehigh Valley Railroad.

1926, Chapter 104 Route # * STOCKTON TO NEW BRUNSWICK; Beginning at the Delaware River Bridge in the Borough of Stockton, County of Hunterdon, and running thence through or near Sergeantsville to a point through or near Sandbrook; thence to the Borough of Flemington; thence through or near Three Bridges; thence to a point through or near Certerville, where the counties of Somerset and Hunterdon join; thence along the Old York road adjoing the county line to a point where the Old York road joins the road running from Readington to Raritan; thence to the town of Raritan; thence to the Borough of Somerville; thence to the City of New Brunswick by way of Finderne, Manville, Millstone, East Millstone, and Middlebush.

1926, Chapter 108 Route # * ROUTE #1, JERSEY CITY TO ROUTE #11, PASSAIC. Beginning at the commencement of Route No. 1 in Jersey City, na drunning northwesterly through Jersey City, Hoboken, Union City, North Bergen, Secaucus, Hidson County; Carlstadt, East Rutherford, Wallington, in Bergen County; Passaic in Passaic County, connecting with State highway Route No. 11 in Passaic County.

1926, Chapter 124 Route # * KEARNEY TO CALDWELL; from State Highway Route No. 1 in the City of Jersey City, or from any connection or proposed connection with said Route No. 1 in town of Kearney to State Highway Route No. 12 at Caldwell Township, through the Town of Kearney, Borough of North Arlington, Town of Bellville, to connect with State Highway Route No. 11 in said town; Town of Bloomfield, Borough of Glen Ridge, Town of Montclair to connect with State Highway Route No. 8 in said town; Borough of Verona, and thence to Route No. 12 in said Township of Caldwell.

1926, Chapter 125 Route #5-Ext. EXTENSION OF ROUTE #5 TO NEWARK; from the easterly terminus of State Highway Route No. 5 in the Township of Maplewood through the Town of Irvington, City of Newark, to connect with State Highway Route No. 1 as now or hereafter laid out in said City of Newark.

1926, Chapter 126 Route # * JERSEY CITY TO DOVER; from State Highway Route No. 1 in the City of Jersey City through the Town of Kearney, Town of Harrison, City of Newark, City of East Orange, City of Orange, Town of West Orange, Township of Livingston, and through Hanover, Whippany and Littleton in the Township of Hanover, and thence to connect with the present State Hoghway Route in the Town of Dover.

1926, Chapter 140 Route # * PATERSON PLANK ROAD AND TONNELE AVENUE; between the Wallington County Bridge and the proposed Route No. 17 (100' wide); From Route #17 to Tonnele Avenue in Union City in the County of Hudson (150' wide); From a point on the Paterson Plank Road near the Hackensack Bridge in the Town of Secaucus running westerly to connect with the Couty Road and thence southerly along the County Road to Tonnele Avenue in Jersey City in the County of Hudson (150' wide); Tonelle Avenue fron the Paterson Plank Road westerly to connect with the proposed State Highway Route No. 1 (150' wide).

1926, Chapter 167 Route # * NEWTON TO SWARTSWOOD LAKE (Sussex County) A road leading from the route designated in Chapter 158 of the laws of 1925, at or near the court house in the Town of Newton, to Swartswood Lake in the Townshup of Stillwater, in the County of Sussex.

1926, Chapter 185 Route # * SPUR FROM ROUTE #13 TO RIDGE ROAD From a point about one mile east of the Delaware and Raritan Canal at Kingston, in a southerly direction to the intersection of the Trenton and New Brunswick Turnpike, connection Route No. 13 with the road from Kingston to Monmouth Junction known as the Ridge Road.

1926, Chapter 194 Route # * JERSEY CITY TO KILL VON KULL BRIDGE; from State Highway Route No. 1, in the City of Jersey City, thence along the westerly side of and through the City of Jersey City and the City of Bayonne, to the entrance to the proposed bridge across the Kill von Kull.

1926, Chapter 227 Route #12 Alter. ALTERATION OF ROUTE #12; from Paterson to Phillipsburg by way of Farifield, Pine Brook, Parsippany, Denville, thence over Route No. 5 ro Budd's Lake, thence to Washington and Broadway.

1926, Chapter 246 Route #8 Spur SPUR FROM ROUTE #8 TO DINGMAN'S FERRY; from Route No. 8 at Franklin Furnace, Sussex County, westward through Monroe, Lafayette and Branchville, stopping at the Delaware River Bridge at Dingman's Ferry on the New Jersey side of the Delaware River, and in Sussex County.

1926, Chapter 259 Route # * WEST LONG BRANCH TO LONG BRANCH (Branch in Long Branch); commencing in the Borough of Long Branch beginning with Route number four and thence continuing easterly through Borough of West Long Branch, taking over the route known as Wall Street and ending at Norwood Avenue in the City of Long Branch.

1926, Chapter 323 Route # * HACKETTSTOWN TO ROCKPORT (Warren County Branch) From Trout Brook, on Grand Avenue, in th Town of Hackettstown, in the Counrty of Warren, to the State Game Farm at Rockport, in the Otwnship of Mansfoeld in said Couty of Warren, being a reservation maintained wholly by the State of New Jersey.

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