NJ TRANSIT is setting its sights on the future and focusing the agency’s attention on projects that will improve infrastructure and stimulate economic growth throughout New Jersey.
The change is palpable when you consider that since 2018, NJ TRANSIT has advanced more than $4 billion in over 100 projects encompassing all facets of NJ TRANSIT service, including Bus, Access Link, Light Rail, and Rail that will drastically improve overall service.
That is extraordinary when comparing it to just $60 million in hard money contracts out on the street in 2017.
The pandemic did not diminish NJ TRANSIT’s resolve to advance these capital projects and while other mass transit agencies throughout the nation reduced or halted their capital plans and projects, NJ TRANSIT pushed forward and committed billions of dollars, as well as countless hours and manpower on ensuring that its customers would benefit from these critically important projects.
Key among NJ TRANSIT’s many active capital projects is the highly anticipated $1.8 billion Portal North Bridge replacement project which is expected to receive its construction award later this year. The Portal North Bridge is an integral link in the highly transited zone between Newark Penn Station and Penn Station New York. The more than 100-year-old original structure is known to cause severe delays to the roughly 200,000 rail passengers that rode over it before the pandemic when the bridge would malfunction while in the process of opening or closing for maritime traffic.
The modern replacement bridge will rise over 50 feet above the river so that maritime traffic can easily pass underneath the new high-level structure, therefore, foregoing any chance of complications and eliminating delays.
Continuing with projects along NJ TRANSIT’s busiest stretches is the $195 million Long Slip Fill and Rail Enhancement project in Hoboken. The Long Slip project is a critical component of the larger Hoboken Redevelopment project which will address many of the state of good repair and resiliency challenges which the Hoboken Terminal faces as it supports rail, bus, and light rail customers while providing access to PATH trains and ferries to and from New York City.
Adjacent to the Hoboken Terminal is the Long Slip Canal. The one-third-mile-long, 100-foot wide canal has been inactive for 40 years. Superstorm Sandy’s storm surge caused the canal to overflow resulting in significant flood damage to both the passenger and yard facilities at the Hoboken Terminal.
After the surge, the Hoboken Terminal, and several tracks were rendered temporarily out of service. These brief closures crippled rail capacity at this vital transit hub.
The Long Slip Fill and Rail Enhancement project is separated into two phases, the first of which includes filling the existing canal. The second phase will see the construction of six new tracks with high-level platforms over the filled canal.
The additional tracks will be constructed above flood elevation and provide emergency capacity in the event multiple main track outages are incurred, such as following an extreme weather event. The project will also provide opportunities for increasing capacity for rail, bus, light rail, and ferry service.
Another important bridge replacement project focuses on the Raritan River Bridge. The $600 million project will replace the over a century-old Raritan River Bridge which became submerged and suffered extreme damage by Hurricane Sandy. The new two track vertical lift bridge will be more resilient and include an additional vertical clearance above flood elevation.
The upgrades will ensure more reliable and efficient rail operations during both day-to-day and extreme weather events which will promote continuity of service during and following extreme weather events.
The Portal North Bridge, Long Slip Fill and Rail Enhancement, and Raritan River Bridge projects are just some of the many NJ TRANSIT capital projects that the agency continues to forge ahead with. Long-term investments in infrastructure will help NJ TRANSIT improve the commuting experience, by incorporating sustainability and resilience into the project designs.
Through its dedication to advancing these capital projects, NJ TRANSIT proves that as New Jersey grows and evolves, so does NJ TRANSIT.