UNION COUNTY – On Monday, March 11, The North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) Board of Trustees approved a $500,000 grant for Union County to investigate the best course of action for restoring the crossing over the Elizabeth River on South Front Street in the City of Elizabeth.
The existing South Front Street Bridge has been closed since 2011 due to severe structural and mechanical deterioration. The 158-foot-long movable bridge has been left in an open position to allow marine traffic to continue passing through. The project will explore the feasibility of alternatives to rehabilitate the bridge, built in 1922 by the Strauss Bascule Bridge Co. of Chicago, or build a new crossing.
“We are thankful that funds have become available that will allow us to explore all options where it concerns this bridge,” said Union County Freeholder Angel Estrada, who represents the county on the NJTPA Board of Trustees. “The closure has created a half-mile dead end along South Front Street, impacted businesses and hampered mobility in the area, including for emergency responders.”
The project was one of five applications in northern and central New Jersey selected to receive federal funding through the NJTPA’s 2014 Local Capital Project Delivery Program. The program awards grants to counties and cities to investigate all aspects of a project, including environmental, right of way, access, design and feasibility issues. Projects that complete this initial investigative work, called the “Local Concept Development Phase,” may be eligible for eventual construction with federal funds.
A total of $2.2 million was approved for this year’s round of Local Capital Delivery Program projects. Over the last decade, the program has provided approximately $653.5 million for 175 projects in the region. For more information about the program, visit NJTPA.org.
The NJTPA is the metropolitan planning organization (MPO) for 13 northern New Jersey counties. Under federal legislation, MPOs provide a forum where local officials, public transportation providers and state agency representatives can come together and cooperatively plan to meet the region’s current and future transportation needs. It establishes the region’s eligibility to receive federal tax dollars for transportation projects.
The NJTPA Board consists of one local elected official from each of the 13 counties in the region (Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren), and the cities of Newark and Jersey City. The Board also includes a Governor’s Representative, the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Transportation, the Executive Director of NJ Transit, the Deputy Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and a Citizen’s Representative appointed by the Governor.