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The New Jersey Department of Transportation's Office of Maritime Resources (NJDOT/OMR) is a partner in maritime trades development and redevelopment projects. Besides stimulating New Jersey's economy, these projects also improve its environmental health and enhance the overall quality of life of its citizens.

Port Jersey Channel Deepening

The Port Jersey Channel is located in Jersey City between Global Marine Terminal in Jersey City and the former Military Ocean Terminal (MOTBY) in Bayonne. Maintenance of this channel is currently a state responsibility.
Containership at Global Marine Terminal   The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) authorized the channel to be dredged to -41 feet in 1986, but the project languished due to lack of sponsorship. The last time work was performed in the channel was 1998 when a portion of the channel was dredged to -38 feet under the guidance of the NJDOT/OMR.

In July 2002, NJDOT/OMR finalized negotiations with the USACE to begin work to deepen the channel to -41 feet and to transfer maintenance responsibility to the federal government. The project requires the removal of over 1.4 million cubic yards of material ranging in both quality and material type from clean sand to contaminated silt.

The project is divided into two major areas: the inner channel (between Global and MOTBY) and the outer channel (cutting across the Flats to the Anchorage Channel). Work on the 41 foot channel began in January of 2003 and is currently ongoing, with the outer channel expected to be finished in early 2008. Since the signing of the Project Cooperation Agreement (PCA) with the USACE, it has become apparent that the current channel alignment will not be adequate to bring in post-Panamax sized vessels.

Because the Harbor Navigation Project (50-foot project) is currently underway, the deepening the Port Jersey Channel to 50-feet will overlap the current 41-foot project. Therefore, it was considered prudent to deepen the 41-foot channel along the proposed 50-foot alignment.

The channel realignment, unfortunately, will require removal of a small portion (approximately 12 acres) of the Jersey Flats, an ecologically sensitive, important shallow water habitat. Flounder are known to utilize this area heavily for spawning. NJDOT/OMR and New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) have recommended a mitigation strategy where material removed from the Flats will be used to recreate shallow water habitat in areas previously deepened for MOTBY. After extensive ecological evaluation, it was decided to use the south MOTBY channel for the habitat enhancement project.  This channel will be filled in from its current depth of -35 feet to a final depth of -15 to -9 feet with only clean, HARS suitable, sediments. Work on this portion of the project is underway and can be viewed via this video clip.

Another environmental benefit came from the requirement to offset any air pollution (NOx) generated by the construction.  Based on the success of the Port Authority of NY/NJ's tugboat repowering program, NJDOT contracted with the Port Authority to repower tugboats for the Port Jersey deepening.  The Port Authority has contracted with two local boat operators to replace outdated, polluting engines in three boats with new, lesser polluting engines.  The reduction in pollution (171 tons/yr NOx) will be enough to offset the pollution generated during the project.  However, these boats are required to operate largely in the NY/NJ Harbor for at least 10 years, making the air we breathe cleaner long after the construction in complete.

Permits from the NJDEP and the USACE were obtained in 2005, but work was delayed due to the determination that the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commissioners' outfall tunnel could be put into jeopardy by the project.  The historic structure is a twelve foot diameter tunnel running from Newark, under Newark Bay, through Jersey City and Bayonne and out into New York Bay.  It carries an average of 300 million gallons of treated effluent every day.  The tunnel, completed early last century, includes a hand poured unreinforced concrete liner.  There is no practical way to assess its condition.  After almost two years of careful study, NJDOT/OMR and Parsons Brinkerhoff (under contract with NJDOT Design Services) have developed a plan to construct the project and keep the outfall tunnel safe.  The material over the tunnel will be excavated in sections, backfilled to grade with crushed stone and capped with 5-inch thick steel plates.  These plates will replace the weight that keeps the tunnel from moving. This work is not expected to begin until the late summer of 2009.

On July 11, 2007, the District Enginner executed a revised contract with NJDOT/OMR and the Port Authority of NY and NJ to complete the Port Jersey Channel.  The next phase of work, removal of more than 3 million cubic yards from the entire channel length (excepting around the PVSC tunnel) is currently under contract to Great Lakes Dredge and Dock. This phase is expected to be largely complete by the end of 2009.

For more information, visit the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Web site.

Phase II Action Plan Complete

NJDOT Office of Maritime Resources is pleased to announce that DM JM + Harris has successfully completed work on Phase II of the Port Inland Distribution Network analysis. Deliverable results of Phase II included an Action/Business Plan (pdf 447k), Cover (pdf 156k) and a Presentation with notes (pdf 800k). The results of the Phase II project are a superb example of coordination between the public and private sector. DM JM + Harris conducted the project with a strong attention to economic detail balanced with local considerations, the state's role in the potential start-up of a PIDN service, regional synergies and private sector business model processes. NJDOT is equipped with information necessary to make an informed policy decision - in the context of the Action/Business Plan, the "Go" or "No-Go" decision. NJDOT in coordination with the Delaware River Valley Planning Commission and other partners will be able to proceed with insight, intelligence and a well-thought-out approach to transportation management in South Jersey.

South Jersey Port Inland Distribution Network (SJ PIDN) Phase II

In SJ PIDN Phase I, five prospective sites were screened for their appropriateness for PIDN development and one site was identified as the most suitable for potential at this time. The purpose of Phase II of this study is to further define the development of a PIDN site in South Jersey. Phase II will lead to the development of an Action/Business Plan that will more concretely specify the requirements necessary for the establishment of a SJ PIDN with the Camden/northern Gloucester area as the focus of current SJ PIDN service development. Salem will continue to be reviewed as a possible secondary SJ PIDN service location in the future.

Additionally, the study will identify the economic and environmental benefits afforded by a SJ PIDN site. The products of the study will assist decision makers in evaluating the merits of supporting SJ PIDN development.

Goals include:

  • Further analyze the feasibility of SJ PIDN development based on local and regional factors.
  • Increase the level of public and private investment in regional freight movement activities by identifying the needs of freight elements in the region’s transportation system.
  • Provide a maritime development opportunity in South Jersey in accordance with the state’s Smart Growth planning concepts.
  • Provide freight related job creation, environmental and community benefits.
  • Develop an action/business plan that will detail operational characteristics, capital funding requirements/sources and sustainable SJ PIDN service considerations.

South Jersey Port Inland Distribution Network (SJ PIDN) Phase I

NJDOT/OMR endeavors to investigate environmentally friendly and economically sound methods of freight transportation to ensure a beneficial quality of life for the citizens of New Jersey. In June 2002, NJDOT funded a Port Inland Distribution Network (PIDN) South Jersey Site Evaluation and Feasibility Development Study, managed by NJDOT/OMR and conducted by DM JM + Harris. The Study was undertaken knowing that the amount of containerized freight moving through the port of New York and New Jersey is projected to double by the year 2010, and the majority of this freight will stay within the 13 northeastern states.

Given the increased transportation network demands resulting from the projected port growth, it is necessary to examine alternative distribution patterns and facilities that could improve the movement of freight within the region.

The PIDN Study, now known as Phase I, complements work being done by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC), the North Jersey Transportation Authority (NJTPA), the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ), the South Jersey Port Corporation (SJPC), NJDOT/OMR, and local public and private sector stakeholders at the potential South Jersey PIDN service sites. The products of the Study will be used to assist these decision makers in evaluating the merits of supporting South Jersey PIDN development, and specify the requirements necessary for establishment of one or more PIDNs in South Jersey.

The PIDN South Jersey Site Evaluation and Feasibility Development Study examined one alternative that may:

  • Decrease future truck vehicle miles traveled (VMT) between the Port of New York and New Jersey and inland gateway ports through the utilization of two-way barge or rail service.
  • Facilitate a more efficient pattern of radial, short distance pick up and delivery at PIDN locations.
  • Stimulate economic development within or near PIDN host communities including brownfield remediation and additiona value-added services.
  • DM JM + Harris was tasked to identify the site or sites with the highest promise for PIDN development based on an evaluation of the service advantages/disadvantages, costs/opportunities, public benefits associated with, and, viability of establishing barge (or rail) service to handle two-way container flow (PIDN service) at each of five initially examined prospective sites. Initial analysis shows that the Camden area, shows the highest promise to host a container-barge service. The SJ PIDN Site Evaluation and Feasibility Development Study Final Report (pdf 2.3m) results are shown on the summary report (pdf 112k).

    You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the PDF files which is available at our state Adobe Acrobat Access page.


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  Last Updated:  December 16, 2008