PRESS RELEASE

For immediate release:
December 1, 2010

Contact:
Zoe Baldwin, Michelle Ernst
Tri-State Transportation Campaign
(212) 268-7474, (609) 271-0778

New Report Identifies More than 200 Deficient Major Bridges in New Jersey

Looming funding crisis threatens to jeopardize progress on improving the Garden State’s critical infrastructure

A new analysis of federal bridge data by the Tri-State Transportation Campaign identifies 202 deficient major bridges across the state. Many of these bridges are in need of immediate repair or reconstruction, and indeed the New Jersey Department of Transportation says that nearly $850 million in annual bridge repair spending is needed to make significant progress toward reducing the state’s backlog of deficient bridges. (Download the report at www.tstc.org/reports/bandage/.)

Yet the expected bankruptcy of New Jersey’s Transportation Trust Fund threatens to derail progress on improving bridges and other critical infrastructure. Beginning in July 2011, all of the gas tax and other revenue flowing into the TTF will be diverted to interest payments on decades’ worth of past borrowing.

“Ensuring a sustainable, long-term source of revenue for the Transportation Trust Fund is critical to keeping New Jersey’s bridges safe and maintaining the state’s infrastructure investments,” said Kate Slevin, executive director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign.

The report comes on the heels of a letter (http://www.tstc.org/press/2010/112210_NJ_letter.pdf) from Tri-State, Environment New Jersey, and NJPIRG urging Governor Christie to redirect the billions in transportation funds that had been slated for the ARC tunnel project to transit, bridge and road repair.

Nearly eight million cars and trucks cross New Jersey’s 202 structurally deficient major bridges every day. While the term structurally deficient does not necessarily indicate that a bridge is in danger of collapse, it is an indication that a particular bridge is in need of repair or reconstruction in the immediate or near future.

The majority of New Jersey’s structurally deficient bridges are concentrated in the heavily-populated counties of northern New Jersey. Bergen County tops the list at 26 structurally deficient bridges, followed by Essex and Morris Counties with 20 and 19 structurally deficient bridges, respectively. But as a percentage of total major bridges, rural Sussex and Warren counties, each with far fewer major bridges than their more urbanized neighbors, rank at the top with 14 percent of major bridges rated structurally deficient.

Beyond rating a bridge’s deficiency, states are required to calculate a sufficiency rating based on nearly two dozen factors related to a bridge’s condition and use. Tri-State ranked all 202 of New Jersey’s structurally deficient major bridges by this category, identifying 18 with a very low sufficiency rating of less than 25% (the sufficiency rating can range from 0 to 100%).


Facility Carried by Structure

Features Intersected

City

Year Built or Reconstructed

Avg. Daily Traffic

Sufficiency Rating

RT 1&9 (Pulaski Skyway)

Passaic River, NJ Tpk, Conrail

Newark

1984

72,100

2.0%

RT 1&9 (Pulaski Skyway)

Passaic and Hackensack Rivers

Jersey City

1984

72,100

2.0%

MIDDLESEX AVE

Port Reading Secondary

Metuchen

1922

22,372

2.0%

RT 36

Shrewsbury River, Bay Ave

Highlands

1960

21,746

2.0%

RT 1&9T

RR, St Paul & Larch Ave

Jersey City

1928

43,100

2.8%

RT 139

Former Erie Lackawanna RR

Jersey City

1927

65,770

6.0%

N. MAPLE AVE

Hohokus Brook

Ho-Ho-Kus

1926

18,267

7.0%

RT 139 EB UPPER

Rt 139

Jersey City

1977

23,260

9.2%

RT 206

CSX RR

Montgomery

1918

19,400

9.2%

RT 21 SB

Rt 21 NB Viaduct

Newark

1953

44,460

11.0%

RT 139 EB

I-78 & Local Roads

Jersey City

1968

32,900

16.2%

RT 3 EB

Hackensack River, Meadowland Pkwy

East Rutherford

1964

77,698

17.0%

RT 52

Ship Channel

Ocean City

1933

24,900

17.4%

RT 35

Rt 440

Perth Amboy

1972

25,445

18.1%

RT 46

DL&W RR, W Blackwell St

Dover

1929

16,830

20.2%

RT 206

Crusers Brook

Montgomery

1925

20,000

21.8%

RT 183

NJ TRANSIT - Morris Line

Netcong

1930

15,700

24.6%

GS PARKWAY RAMP Y

Rt 9 SB, Ramp M

Woodbridge

1953

42,000

24.7%

Many of these bridges, like the Pulaski Skyway, are notorious to drivers for their potholes and craters. Others suffer from problems not apparent to the average motorist, but no less worrisome. Some of the bridges date from World War I.

The New Jersey Department of Transportation recognizes the critical need to maintain the state’s infrastructure and has been making steady progress on the legislatively-mandated goal of reducing the backlog of deficient bridges. And, in fact, most of the bridges listed above are included in recent NJDOT capital plans. But without a solvent Transportation Trust Fund, continued funding for even that handful of ongoing projects is uncertain.

Tri-State’s report makes the following recommendations to improve New Jersey’s bridges:

The report, and a Google Map showing the exact location of each structurally deficient major bridge, as well as details about each bridge are available at www.tstc.org/reports/bandage/.

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The Tri-State Transportation Campaign is a non-profit organization working toward a more balanced, transit-friendly and equitable transportation system in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut.