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Route History for US 46 in New Jersey
- In 1934, the route that would soon become US 46 was numbered as NJ-6 for basically its entire length from New York to Delaware, New Jersey. What is today US 46 between Delaware and Columbia was numbered NJ-8. The route had already been paved by this time.
- By 1942, the route had been re-numbered US 46, although the NJ-6 designation also remained.
- The road followed its current alignment, largely using the current roadway, from its beginning on the George Washington Bridge to the Passaic River in Elmwood Park.
- In the Paterson area, US 46 followed River Drive, Market Street, 21st Avenue, Jackson Street, Grand Street, Murray Avenue, McBride Avenue, Totowa Road, and Union Boulevard to Little Falls, then Main Street, Fairfield Road, Little Falls Road, and Fairfield Road through Fairfield. Apparently Jackson Street did not have gaps at I-80 and between Green Street and Slater Street at the time. Interestingly, by this time NJ-6 had been re-routed onto a new highway through Clifton while US 46 still followed the old NJ-6 routing through Paterson.
- Continuing west, US 46 followed its current alignment for the most part, except for a few areas where it now bypasses town centers.
- Around Pine Brook, US 46 most likely followed Bloomfield Avenue and Old Bloomfield Avenue.
- In Parsippany, it most likely followed Bloomfield Avenue and Hill Road.
- In Denville, US 46 most likely followed Bloomfield Avenue, Broadway, and West Main Street.
- In Ledgewood, US 46 may have followed what is now Circle Drive to Main Street, although that routing may have pre-dated US 46.
- In Delaware, US 46 followed Lackawanna Road to a bridge across the Delaware River into Pennsylvania. The old US 46 bridge is now gone although an old adjacent railroad bridge remains.
- By 1946, US 46 had been re-routed to follow its current alignment through Clifton.
- Between 1950 and 1955, the western end of US 46 had been moved to follow its current alignment to Columbia, where it ended at US 611. During this time period, the NJ-6 designation was also dropped from the route, making it just US 46.
- By 1960, a short section of I-80 had been completed east of Dover, marking the beginning of US 46's replacement as a major through route.
- By 1961, I-80 had been completed around Dover, providing an alternative to US 46. Also, US 611 north of Columbia had also been designated I-80, so US 46 now had its end at both US 611 and I-80 in Columbia.
- By 1962, I-80 had been completed from Dover to Netcong, replacing US 46 as a major through route.
- By 1966, I-80 had been completed from the George Washington Bridge to Paterson, replacing US 46 as a major through route west. US 46 remained a major through route to the south however, since it was still the main connection route between the George Washington Bridge and the New Jersey Turnpike. On the western end, the US 611 designation had been dropped north of Columbia, so now US 46 terminated at I-80 only.
- By 1975, I-80 had been completed in New Jersey and the I-95 connection to the New Jersey Turnpike was complete. As a result, US 46 ceased to be a major through route. By this time, US 46 had also been improved in West Paterson to provide entrance and exit ramps at major intersections.
External websites of interest:
- Some photos and information about former alignments of US 46 in New Jersey can be found on Steve Alpert's Roads website.
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