Railroad bridge collapses under the weight of Chris Christie’s mismanagement

A railroad bridge that was to have been improved before the previous governor nearly bankrupted the state’s fund for transit construction, collapsed Saturday as a freight train passed over Overpeck Creek in Ridgefield Park.

Officials said no one was injured when the Bergen County track collapsed at about 8:20 a.m. Saturday morning, according to New York, Susquehanna and Western (NYSW) Railway, which operates over 400 miles of track in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. 

According to NYSW spokesperson Melanie Boyer, one section of the 405-foot bridge collapsed as a train was crossing it and a single car loaded with sugar was damaged, with one of its wheelsets missing. 

The train didn’t derail, but the last wheels on the last car of the train went into the water. 

CSX and Ridgefield Park police, and Susquehanna officials were on the scene making repairs and the Bergen Turnpike crossing was closed to through traffic.

The bridge crosses Overpeck Creek in Ridgefield Park near the Bergen Turnpike. All operations over the bridge are now suspended.

The bridge was inspected last month and was scheduled to be replaced this year and contractors had already set up equipment to start driving piles on Monday, according to Nathon Fenno, a spokesman for NYSW. State taxpayers were to contribute $4.3 million toward replacing the bridge, while the railroad will pay $1.8 million.

The project was one of 165 investments that were stalled in 2016 after former Gov. Chris Christie and state lawmakers came to a stalemate over the Transportation Trust Fund. The Republican governor exhausted the fund by spending at least a billion dollars about a year ahead of schedule.

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