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Scenic Byways in New Jersey

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a state scenic byway?
To be a scenic byway, a state road must be a transportation corridor that is regionally significant in one of these qualifying areas: scenic, natural, recreational, cultural, historic, or archaeological. Each corridor should represent the uniqueness and diversity of the state with a unifying theme that tells a story about New Jersey’s heritage, recreational opportunities, history and beauty.

Roads that have a variety of scenic or interesting features with no relationship to each other do not create an overall sense of the road’s character, history, or culture and therefore should not be considered for the scenic byway designation.

How does New Jersey designate a scenic byway?
New Jersey has a two-step process for designating scenic byways. A sponsor must first apply by filling out the New Jersey Scenic Byways Application (pdf 633k). If approved, the route will become a New Jersey State Scenic Byway. The sponsor has five years to complete the second step, to prepare a Scenic Byway Corridor Management Plan.

The file above is in Portable Document Format (PDF). You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view this file, which is available at our state Adobe Access page.

Who may sponsor a scenic byway?
Local, state, or federal government agencies or a member of the private sector may designate a scenic byway.

What must a sponsor do?
The sponsor is responsible for:
  • preparing a nomination and obtaining approval from the authorities that have jurisdiction over the proposed scenic byway: the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT), counties, cities and municipalities;
  • presenting the nomination to the State Scenic Byways Advisory Committee;
  • establishing and maintaining a Scenic Corridor Committee;
  • preparing a Scenic Byways Corridor Management Plan;
  • coordinating the development and implementation of the Scenic Byways Corridor Management Plan;
The sponsor does not need to have legal ownership or jurisdiction over the byway but the agencies that do must participate in the preparation of the Scenic Byways Management Plan.

Who makes the decision?
New Jersey’s Transportation Commissioner makes the final decision assisted by members of the state’s multi-disciplinary Scenic Byways Advisory Committee.

Why should communities get involved with this program?
Some communities designate a scenic byway to increase tourism and bolster their economic base. Others use it as a way to conserve the qualities of the byway corridor resources that reflect the community’s character.

What are the benefits of the designation?
The benefits of designation are:
  • signs provided by NJDOT
  • recognition
  • increased tourism
  • technical assistance
  • planning for protection and managed growth
  • promotion and marketing
  • funding assistance
What is the process for designating a scenic byway?
These are the steps:
  • A sponsor group is created.
  • The sponsor meets with the State Scenic Byway Coordinator to review general procedures.
  • The sponsor organizes a corridor committee.
  • The sponsor identifies the byway route.
  • The sponsor develops a byway theme.
  • The sponsor completes each section of the NJ Scenic Byway Nomination form package that includes general information, maps, narrative, jurisdiction and approval, visual interpretation.
  • The sponsor submits the nomination package to the State Scenic Byways Advisory Committee.
  • The Committee reviews the nomination package and makes their recommendation to the Commissioner of NJDOT.
  • The Commissioner approves or disapproves the nomination.
What happens when a nomination is approved?
When the nomination is approved, the byway is provisionally designated as a State Scenic Byway by the NJDOT Commissioner.

What happens after approval?
After the provisional designation of a new scenic byway, a Scenic Byway Corridor Management Plan (CMP) must be prepared within five years. The CMP may be done by the sponsor or with the help of a consultant. Various funding sources are available to hire a consultant. The sponsor must solicit endorsement of the CMP from the agencies that regulate the corridor and submits the byway CMP to the State Scenic Byways Committee for review and approval. The NJDOT Commissioner either approves or disapproves the CMP. If approved, NJDOT will supply scenic byway marker signs and it becomes the responsibility of the roadway authority managing the byway to install, maintain and replace the byway marker signs.

What are the federal scenic byway funding opportunities for a state designated scenic byway?
The sponsor of any designated state scenic byway may apply for a federal scenic byway discretionary grant. Applications must be sent to the State Scenic Byways Coordinator who reviews the information and passes it on to the local Federal Highway Administration office. Contact the State Scenic Byways Coordinator for the due dates.

What can federal funds be used for?
Federal Scenic Byway discretionary grant funds can be used for the following:
  • State program development
  • Corridor management plans
  • Safety
  • Byway facilities
  • Access to recreation
  • Resource protection
  • Interpretive information
  • Marketing
What is a national scenic byway?
Roads that merit recognition at the national level for their outstanding scenic, cultural, historic, archaeological, recreational and natural qualities can be designated a national scenic byway. They are representative of the best of the state and Federal Land Management Agency Scenic Byways. These are exceptional roads that exemplify the regional characteristics of the nation’s culture, history and landscape.

To be considered for this designation, a road must:
  • be a state scenic byway;
  • possess at least one of the six qualities;
  • have a corridor management plan;
  • accommodate two-wheel drive passenger vehicles with standard clearance;
  • accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians.

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  Last Updated:  June 4, 2015