NEW BRUNSWICK — Intended to keep rail cars and locomotives sheltered from flood-prone areas during severe weather, NJ Transit's Delco Lead Storage and Inspection Facility is now gaining steam, with the awarding of the first construction contract, to Union Paving for more than $6 million.

In a release Wednesday, NJ Transit said the early action phase covered by the contract is anticipated to be completed by the end of the summer of 2023.

NJT President and CEO Kevin Corbett said climate change has "increased the frequency and intensity of weather events in our region," and will allow trains to quickly return to service on the Northeast Corridor, Raritan Valley, and North Jersey Coast lines.

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Nearly a decade ago, following the damage incurred by NJ Transit equipment in Superstorm Sandy, the agency said that the County Yard in New Brunswick and the adjacent, four-mile-long Delco Lead were identified as potential "safe havens" for cars and locomotives.

Because the area is above a flood plain with few trees, NJT said, it will be a safe alternative if sister facilities in Kearny and in Morrisville, Pa. are evacuated.

The exact value of the Union Paving contract is $6,080,015, for construction that will prepare the site for future building.

Patrick Lavery is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at patrick.lavery@townsquaremedia.com

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NJ county fairs make a comeback: Check out the schedule for 2022

UPDATED 4/10: A current list of county fairs happening across the Garden State for 2022. From rides, food, animals, and hot air balloons, each county fair has something unique to offer.

(Fairs are listed in geographical order from South NJ to North NJ)

These are the best hiking spots in New Jersey

A trip to New Jersey doesn't have to be all about the beach. Our state has some incredible trails, waterfalls, and lakes to enjoy.

From the Pine Barrens to the Appalachian Trail to the hidden gems of New Jersey, you have plenty of options for a great hike. Hiking is such a great way to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature, plus it's a great workout.

Before you go out on the trails and explore some of our listeners' suggestions, I have some tips on hiking etiquette from the American Hiking Society.

If you are going downhill and run into an uphill hiker, step to the side and give the uphill hiker space. A hiker going uphill has the right of way unless they stop to catch their breath.

Always stay on the trail, you may see side paths, unless they are marked as an official trail, steer clear of them. By going off-trail you may cause damage to the ecosystems around the trail, the plants, and wildlife that live there.

You also do not want to disturb the wildlife you encounter, just keep your distance from the wildlife and continue hiking.

Bicyclists should yield to hikers and horses. Hikers should also yield to horses, but I’m not sure how many horses you will encounter on the trails in New Jersey.
If you are thinking of bringing your dog on your hike, they should be leashed, and make sure to clean up all pet waste.

Lastly, be mindful of the weather, if the trail is too muddy, it's probably best to save your hike for another day.

I asked our listeners for their suggestions of the best hiking spots in New Jersey, check out their suggestions:

Every NJ city and town's municipal tax bill, ranked

A little less than 30 cents of every $1 in property taxes charged in New Jersey support municipal services provided by cities, towns, townships, boroughs and villages. Statewide, the average municipal-only tax bill in 2021 was $2,725, but that varied widely from more than $13,000 in Tavistock to nothing in three townships. In addition to $9.22 billion in municipal purpose taxes, special taxing districts that in some places provide municipal services such as fire protection, garbage collection or economic development levied $323.8 million in 2021.