Office of the Governor
infrastructure improvements top NJ agenda
State moves forward on study to
extend rail service into Bergen County
(Paramus) - Governor James E. McGreevey, joined by Senator Jon Corzine, Transportation Commissioner James Fox and Bergen County officials, today pledged that the State will continue to work in partnership with its federal representatives to reduce traffic congestion and improve transportation infrastructure throughout New Jersey.
Specifically, the Governor announced that the State is moving forward with a critical congestion relief project on Route 4 in Bergen County, and is taking a necessary step to bring rail service to the region. Next week, NJDOT will receive bids for a $25 million series of improvements to Route 4 between Paramus and River Edge. The NJ TRANSIT board of directors will vote next week on $10 million in conceptual engineering to support environmental analysis of bringing rail service to Bergen County.
The study will consider three options, the first of which will be the extension of Hudson-Bergen Light Rail line from North Bergen in Hudson County to Tenafly. Also under review will be the extension of HBLR south into Bayonne. Two other rail alignments under examination include the Bergen-Passaic Cross County Corridor from Hawthorne to Fairview, and the West Shore Corridor between Hoboken and West Nyack, NY.
“Bergen County is the crossroads for the New Jersey and New York metropolitan region,” Governor McGreevey said. “As home to nearly twenty malls and major shopping centers, and with an employment base of nearly 500,000, it is imperative that we work with Senators Corzine and Lautenberg to make investments in the regional transportation network. For smart growth to work, we need to concentrate our transportation dollars where congestion and development already exists.”
"It is absolutely vital to New Jersey's economy that we keep commuters, workers and commerce moving freely, and mass transit is the key to that happening," said Corzine. "Senator Lautenberg and I will do everything in our power in the next session of the Congress to ensure that new transportation funding formulas are fair to New Jersey, and allow us to continue to build and expand modern rail systems like the Hudson Bergen Light Rail system. If we get people out of their cars, we'll have fewer traffic jams, cleaner air, and far more productivity and economic growth.''
Route 4 Improvements:
The Route 4 contract will be awarded by the end of November, and utility relocation will begin in December, with completion set for June 2004. Over 130,000 vehicles use Route 4 in the vicinity of the project every day. The project will expand Route 4 from two to three lanes. The roadway, a major connector between routes 208 and 17 to the George Washington Bridge and points beyond, experiences heavy morning and evening congestion.
Between Farview Avenue in Paramus and Johnson Avenue in River Edge, Route 4 will be improved to provide auxiliary lanes, reconfigure ramps, and create areas for buses to pickup and discharge passengers. In addition, acceleration and deceleration lanes will be built, and the roadway pavement will be rehabilitated.
The project will also replace the existing pedestrian bridges between the Bergen Mall and Kohl’s in order to provide an ADA compatible bridge. The NJDOT recently reached a public-private partnership with Levin Management Corporation that will provide elevator service for the pedestrian bridge so that both sides of the structure will be accessible to handicapped visitors.
Bergen County Rail Options
In addition to the major improvements slated for Route 4, the NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors is preparing to move forward on a study that could ultimately provide more public transit alternatives for Bergen County.
“For too long, the rail needs of Bergen County have been ignored,” said Transportation Commissioner and NJ TRANSIT Board Chairman Jamie Fox. “Bergen County is home to 800,000 people – more than ten percent of our state’s population. Yet eastern Bergen County has no rail service.
The conceptual design and environmental work, funded by the Transportation Trust Fund, is scheduled for completion next summer, and will help the State make a better and informed decision on federally supported rail service for Bergen County.”
The study will first examine the feasibility of extending HBLR 10 miles from the current terminus at Tonnelle Avenue in North Bergen to Tenafly, and could provide service for residents of North Bergen, Ridgefield, Palisades Park, Leonia, Englewood, and Tenafly. Preliminary ridership estimates predict 21,000 daily trips by 2020.
Two other rail alignments under examination include the Bergen-Passaic Cross County Corridor from Hawthorne to Fairview, and the West Shore Corridor between Hoboken and West Nyack, NY.
Currently the project is not funded, but the Draft Environmental Impact Study is necessary to ensure that New Jersey can obtain federal funding for expansion of rail service into Bergen County.
Extending HBLR to Tenafly would provide direct mass transit access for Bergen County residents to Hoboken, where they can connect with PATH service to Manhattan, as well as other NJ TRANSIT rail and bus service.