Marlton Circle in 2007, before construction started on the replacement interchange
|Marlton, New Jersey|
The Marlton Circle was a traffic circle in the Marlton section of Evesham Township, New Jersey, located at the intersection of Route 70 and Route 73. The highways connecting through the circle provide access to drivers navigating to and between the New Jersey Turnpike, the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge and points on the Jersey Shore.
For years after the construction of the one-lane Marlton Circle in the 1940s, the area was a sparsely populated farming town. While the roads in the area had long been lightly traveled, the population of Evesham Township had doubled since the 1970s and the increased housing and commercial density placed greater traffic stress on the Marlton Circle. In the summer of 1974, the circle was modified when Route 73 was cut through and traffic signals were installed. Congestion has plagued this intersection for years, routinely backing up as far as a mile on summer afternoons. A motorist described the interchange as being like an airport in a resident neighborhood, saying it's "not a traffic circle, it's a non-traffic circle".
A plan to eliminate the circle was announced in 2002 as part of a $26 million project that would address congestion at the circle, which was at the time "the third most dangerous intersection in the state". By 2008, plans to eliminate the circle, described by The Philadelphia Inquirer as "one of the most dangerous intersections in South Jersey", and replace it with an overpass over Route 70 were continuing, a task made more difficult by the daily traffic volume of 90,000 vehicles passing through the circle. Construction broke ground on April 8, 2009.
On May 2, 2010, new traffic patterns were put into effect on Route 70 and 73, and the circle was closed off to traffic and replaced with a regular four-way intersection put in place until the overpass was completed. The circle elimination project also made improvements and new traffic patterns to local roads nearby, including the intersections of Old Marlton Pike (CR 600), East Main Street (CR 620) and Centre Boulevard. New service roads were constructed to provide access for the several businesses in the area, as well as installing new signage and new traffic signals where needed.
On June 25, 2011, the circle was officially eliminated as the Route 73 southbound overpass opened to traffic. The northbound lanes began using the new bridge in March 2011. The entire project, including signage, landscaping, pavement resurfacing, road improvements, and installation of traffic signals was completed in November 2011. The total cost of the project was $33 million.
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Olga's Diner, which Peter Genovese (writer for The Star-Ledger) describes as "the queen of South Jersey diners", was located at the Marlton Circle for four decades. The diner, originally located at the junction of Sixth and Federal Streets in Camden, opened in 1946 and was originally called Mom and Pop's. It became Olga's Diner when it moved to a location across the street in 1951; and finally moved to the Marlton Circle in 1960. It was put up for sale in 2005, and finally closed in December 2008.
- Staff (May 8, 1987). "Election Issues Swirl Around Marlton Circle". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved January 13, 2011.
- Smith, Bridget (April 21, 2008). "Marlton Circle Plans still not Carved in Stone". Courier-Post (Cherry Hill, NJ). Retrieved January 13, 2011. "The Marlton Circle, which sees more than 100,000 cars each day, was built in the 1940s when Evesham was home to farmers and their fields"
- Staff (June 29, 2009). "Plan To Raze Marlton Circle Raises Hopes". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved January 13, 2011.
- Staff (May 6, 2002). "Marlton Circle Project Raises Traffic Fears:The State Plans To Redo the Route 70/73 Intersection". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved January 13, 2011.
- Staff (June 26, 2008). "Plan To Eliminate Marlton Circle Challenged". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved January 13, 2011.
- Staff (April 29, 2010). "70/73 Traffic Pattern Changes this Weekend". The Medford Sun. Retrieved January 13, 2011.
- George, Aubrie (November 24, 2009). "First Stage of Overpass Nearly Done". The Marlton Sun. Retrieved January 13, 2011.
- "Marlton Circle eliminated tonight". The Marlton Sun. June 24, 2011. Retrieved June 26, 2011.
- Genovese 1996, pp. 174.
- Genovese 2003, pp. 179.
- Genovese 1996, pp. 173.
- "Landmark Marlton Diner Is on the Block: The Family Is Giving up Olga's, a Fixture on the Circle Since '60". The Philadelphia Inquirer. April 26, 2005. p. A01.
- "It's Goodbye, This Time for Good, to Olga's Diner". The Philadelphia Inquirer. December 13, 2008. p. B01.
- Works cited
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