New signs could be coming to the Atlantic City Expressway Connector and elsewhere in the city in an effort to help tourists navigate the resort more easily.
Last month, the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority approved a $300,000 fund reservation for the signage project. That funding will allow the design process to begin.
Details including exact locations of the signs, a layout scheme and materials have not yet been settled. Those aspects will be decided after upcoming outreach efforts to local stakeholders, including city officials, residents and the South Jersey Transportation Authority, which operates the connector, CRDA spokeswoman Kim Butler said.
New York advertising giant Euro RSCG, whose clients include Kraft Foods, Volvo and Charles Schwab, also will have input in the design process as the firm chosen by the Atlantic City Alliance earlier this year to develop a $20 million marketing campaign for Atlantic City. That campaign resulted in the “Do AC” marketing blitz launched across the Northeast in April.
Discussion of changing the signs along the connector began years ago as a result of the Atlantic City Regional Transportation Master Plan completed in 2009. More than $4 million was spent putting together the plan, which was commissioned as the city faced tourism growth that officials said would require significant transportation improvements to relieve congestion.
A copy of the plan identifies signage improvements on the 2.3-mile connector stretching from the base of the Atlantic City Expressway to Route 87 as a near-term project. The plan suggests that the current system of lettered exits from A to H is confusing to motorists, particularly because the exits skip from B to E, and no C or D exits exist.
"While overhead signs provide indications of travel locations, the placement of the ramps and proximity to destinations are not intuitive to many drivers," the plan states.
The connector, which allows motorists to bypass city traffic and provides a direct link between the expressway and the Marina District casinos, was built for $330 million in 2001. At the time, it faced lawsuits from casinos and opposition from residents as homes were demolished so it could be built.
Although signage improvements have been discussed for years, the current project is still in its preliminary stages. Earlier this year, the CRDA selected AECOM Consult and Shropshire Associates for as-needed transportation advisory services through a request for proposals process. One of those firms will be engaged for this work, Butler said.
The SJTA operates the roadway. Acting Executive Director Sam Donelson has been working with representatives from the CRDA and ACA in an effort to evaluate, upgrade and enhance the signs, SJTA spokesman Kevin Rehmann said.
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