What is the project about?
Sica Productions has produced a documentary film on the
Woodbridge Cloverleaf, a historic structure under the jurisdiction of the New
Jersey State Department of Transportation
Why is it important?
The Cloverleaf, built in 1928, was the very first traffic
interchange of its type built in the United States. As such, it has been
accorded historic status. Historic artifacts, by law, must be preserved
whenever possible. When not possible (such as is the case with a "structurally
deficient and functionally obsolete" bridge at the intersection of two heavily
travelled highways, it must be documented before it is destroyed.
The Cloverleaf was a remarkable innovation in its time, a
real "aha!" moment if you will. It became the model on which efficient traffic
interchange design throughout the country was based. As anyone who has driven
the road anytime within the past decade or more knows, the design doesn't work
nearly as well handling the traffic volumes of today as it did when it was
praised for its performance in the early part of the last century.
The Woodbridge Cloverleaf has been replaced with a
new interchange. The purpose of this program is to document the existing interchange: the first Cloverleaf.
How did we do it?
Documenting a historic road can consist simply of
gathering published archival information, taking a few photographs and
compiling a printed report. In fact, that was done as part of this project.
"The Woodbridge Cloverleaf: The Circumstances Leading to its Design and its
Importance in the Context of the Modern Highway" is a 59 page document
researched by Kise Straw & Kolodner and published by Hunter Research, the
company managing the overall project. Video documentation can consist of
an engineer walking down the side of the road, making a "home movie" quality
documentation of the construction as it presently exists.
In this case, because of the importance of this particular
artifact, NJDOT decided that documenting it should be done in a manner
commensurate with the significant role the Woodbridge Cloverleaf has played in
the history of transportation in our country. In our proposal to DOT, we
envisioned documenting the past (through archival photographs and film
footage), the present (through contemporary video footage), but also
documenting the experience of what it was like when this was such a
revolutionary achievement, something today's driver might find hard to
Our proposal included the use of interviews with
drivers familiar with the Cloverleaf back in the times when it functioned
according to design, and with people who travelled the route through Woodbridge
as population density and traffic volume grew over the years.
Finally, we proposed to re-create "The Cloverleaf
Experience" from the point of view of those driving the interchange at
different points in its history. Through the use of 3-D animation, the
viewer of our program will actually get a feel for how it was like to drive at
speeds and traffic levels of bygone eras.
To achieve this, we created a 100% accurate 3-D model
from the actual blueprints used to construct the Cloverleaf in 1928. Our
model is exactly to scale and viewable from any angle. It allows us to walk,
drive or fly past the interchange viewing it from various perspectives. One
pleasant side benefit of having this model is the ability to see the Cloverleaf
as it was originally designed and constructed. Significant alterations over the
years, and the loss of architectural details mean that few if any people living
today have ever seen this historic artifact as it's designers intended. Our
program provides the first clear look at the original design in many
It's a privilige and an honor to be a part of the effort to
preserve this important element of New Jersey (and U.S.) transportation