SECAUCUS – The bridge that carries Route 3 over the Hackensack River will be replaced in one of the first announced major projects relying on the money from the new federal infrastructure law.

Construction on the $143 million project won’t start soon, as it will take about two years to design. In all the state is receiving more than $1.1 billion over five years to replace and repair some of the 502 bridges in the state that are rated in poor condition, including $229 million this year.

“The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is the largest investment in America’s infrastructure since the creation of the federal highway system,” said U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J. “That was 1956, 66 years ago. So, this is beyond a generational investment. And, boy, do we need it.”

“Today is a day for our economy, for jobs, for New Jersey families, for New Jersey commuters. For the state of New Jersey, today is a day to rejoice,” said U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J.

Governor Murphy, U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, U.S. Senator Cory Booker, Congressman Bill Pascrell, Department of Transportation Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti, Laborers’ International Union of North America Vice President Ray M. Pocino, and Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise highlight benefits of the Infrastructure Investment and jobs act for New Jersey on Tuesday, January 25, 2022 (OIT/NJ Governor’s Office).
Governor Murphy, U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, U.S. Senator Cory Booker, Congressman Bill Pascrell, Department of Transportation Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti, Laborers’ International Union of North America Vice President Ray M. Pocino, and Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise highlight benefits of the Infrastructure Investment and jobs act for New Jersey on Tuesday, January 25, 2022 (OIT/NJ Governor’s Office).
loading...

“I’ve been a member and a labor leader in LIUNA, the Laborers’ International union, for 65 years, and this is the largest I’ve seen in my lifetime as far as an investment,” said Ray Pocino, LIUNA’s vice president and Eastern regional manager.

The announcement was made at a news conference in the parking lot of a Red Roof Plus that overlooks the bridge that carries 150,000 cars a day over the Hackensack River.

U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., D-Paterson, said the bridge is the top priority in the state for repair. He said there are no other nearby ways across the river for cars and that “mass chaos” would result if the key feeder to the Lincoln Tunnel were to fail.

“You go underneath it, you might not want to drive on it anymore,” Pascrell said.

Light rail foundation to be included

Gov. Phil Murphy said the replacement project will include installing the capacity to lay down a light-rail connection across the river – another step toward finally extending the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail into Bergen County.

“That is, in and of itself, a potential gamechanger, obviously linking in and relieving a lot of the traffic in and out of MetLife and American Dream, which is right across the river from us,” Murphy said. “That is an option that we will have as a state, obviously an option we want to pursue.”

Transportation Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti said the piers will be installed in the river as part of the project that will eventually support a light-rail line that would be built on the side of the bridge. She said it is best to do all the work on building the foundation at once, rather than pursue a duplicate set of permits later for more construction work in the river.

“Putting it in the water is the hardest piece for us,” Gutierrez-Scaccetti said. “So, making sure this bridge is ready for it when we’re ready to build it is key. It’s the wisest use of our dollars.”

Get our free mobile app

Gutierrez-Scaccetti said the light-rail tracks will not be built now. She said the state hopes it that it will be built through a public-private partnership, in which a private-sector company would build and operate it.

Michael Symons is State House bureau chief for New Jersey 101.5. Contact him at michael.symons@townsquaremedia.com.

NJ's Route 22 circa 1984 — Do you recognize these businesses?

Thanks to a new music video for a song called "Twenty Two" by the band Jacques Le Coque, some great footage has surfaced of the NJ portion of U.S. 22, a vital artery through Warren, Hunterdon, Somerset, Union, and Essex counties.

READ MORE: What's in the infrastructure package for New Jersey?

The $1.2 trillion infrastructure package approved by the Senate would provide New Jersey around $12.4 billion in guaranteed spending, with some categories of spending to be allocated later and opportunities to seek billions more in funding through a variety of programs.