11 Jul DR. PATRICK’S POSTCARD ROADSIDE: Woodbridge Cloverleaf
What could be more appropriate for New Jersey than a postcard celebration of a highway interchange? Not just any interchange, this is the Woodbridge Cloverleaf, the first cloverleaf interchange in America.
Originally designed in 1906 France and patented by a Maryland engineer in 1916, the cloverleaf was unnecessary until automobile traffic volumes justified the expensive of building it. That happened in New Jersey first with the construction of State Route 25 in 1928-29. Concurrently signed with US 1, NJ 25 was the main road across the waist of New Jersey connecting Philadelphia and Atlantic Seaboard cities to the south with New York and cities to the north. It intersected with NJ Route 4 (now NJ 35) in Woodbridge. Route 4 was the main road connecting the New York metropolitan area to the Jersey Shore resorts. Engineer Edward Delano with the firm Rudolph & Delano designed a tried-and-tested traffic circle and an innovative cloverleaf for the intersection. Both interchanges were designed to move large volumes of traffic through an intersection without stopping or dangerous left turns. The New Jersey Highway Department chose the cloverleaf.
In 1939, a Georgian Revival Howard Johnson’s opened on NJ 25/US 1 not far from the Woodbridge Cloverleaf, taking advantage of the traffic plying the 4-lane spine of Megalopolis. A modern Howard Johnson’s replaced the original in 1966, which became a Landmark Inn in 1974, and was demolished for a car dealership in the 1990s.
New Jersey’s 1928 Woodbridge Cloverleaf in 2000, after NJ DOT proclaimed it to be functionally obsolete. The cloverleaf was demolished and replaced by a different design in 2007.
The tight 1928 turning radii of the Woodbridge Cloverleaf survived into the 21st century.
Designed for 1920s traffic volumes, the original Woodbridge Cloverleaf was built without accelerating or decelerating lanes. This became a problem after traffic volumes far exceeded its design capacity in the 1960s. The cloverleaf continued to function for another 40 years until concrete started spalling and holes began to appear in the bridge.