Lettiere weathers the snow to cut ribbon for the first
completed Portway project
$30 million Doremus Avenue bridge replacement in Newark
(Newark) - Transportation Commissioner Jack Lettiere, joined by Essex County legislators and local elected officials, today cut the ribbon on the first completed Portway project -- the $30 million Doremus Avenue bridge replacement. The project was funded through the state Transportation Trust Fund.
“Transportation is the lifeblood to the economy of this state,” said Lettiere. “Our system is also the busiest and has the highest usage, and it is among the oldest in the nation. The wear and tear on it requires constant maintenance and upgrades.”
Lettiere said that the Doremus Avenue bridge is the first project completed under the Portway program. Construction began in August 2000.
Portway is a series of 11 independent NJDOT projects that will improve access to and between the Newark-Elizabeth Air/Seaport Complex, intermodal rail facilities; trucking and warehousing/ transfer facilities and the regional surface transportation system.
These facilities and their access routes are the front door to global and domestic commerce for New Jersey and the greater metropolitan New York region. The projects are located in the counties of Union, Essex, Hudson and Bergen and the municipalities of Elizabeth, Newark, Bayonne, Jersey City, Kearny, Secaucus, North Bergen, Little Ferry and Ridgefield Park.
"When fully completed, Portway will mean less truck congestion on our roads and the ability to efficiently move goods at the front door of northern New Jersey's ocean, air and rail transfer facilities," Lettiere added. “The health of our transportation system is crucial to our quality of life and our economy and something we cannot take for granted as we discuss the reauthorization of New Jersey’s Transportation Trust Fund.”
A Blue Ribbon Commission recently recommended a 12.5 cent increase in New Jersey’s gas tax. The Commission cited a staggering need for transportation investments in New Jersey and the impending insolvency of the TTF. The TTF, which has been the primary funding mechanism for State transportation dollars since 1984, needs new revenue or NJDOT’s $2.6 billion annual capital program will shut down. The report recommended a constitutionally dedicated 12.5 cent increase in New Jersey’s motor fuels tax that would bring financial accountability to the fund and secure its role in funding future transportation projects.
The Doremus Avenue bridge, built in 1918, is located northeast of Newark Airport and crosses over Conrail's Oak Island rail yard, one of the busiest in the nation. The replacement project will provide for better traffic flow and improved access to businesses along Doremus Avenue and the adjacent Ironbound district.
The project is the first to use "smart bridge technology," which will give the new bridge super- and sub- structures the capability of monitoring conditions in real time and provide data on how the bridge responds to heavy loads and stresses due to seasonal temperatures.
The Portway program has also been selected by the Federal Highway Administration, in conjunction with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, as one of 10 projects nationwide to be included in the Environmental Streamlining Pilot Program. This program will accelerate the delivery of the transportation improvements while achieving maximum protection to the environment.
Other Portway projects currently under construction include:
· Reconstruction of Doremus Avenue from north of Wilson Avenue to north of Raymond Boulevard; Newark. $17 million.
· Operational improvements at the Charlotte & Tonnelle Circles; Jersey City. $13 million.