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The Commissioner's Report


2009 in review: Capital accomplishments

The Recovery Act funding that the Department received in 2009 only added to our existing infrastructure investment and efforts underway across the state. We continued to invest in preserving and replacing our infrastructure assets in all corners of the state and improving the transportation system for all our residents.

In 2009 we developed and continue to advance our $3.6 billion Fiscal Year 2010 joint Capital Program with NJ TRANSIT. Through this program, the Department continues our aggressive focus on bridge investments by providing $600 million for state and local bridges – including our commitment to rehabilitate 75 structurally deficient bridges within the next two years which is more than NJDOT has ever done in that time. This program addresses critical highway resurfacing efforts on our highways including deteriorated sections of interstate highways, continues our “Safety First” focus with investments for projects and programs to promote the safety of our motorists and pedestrians, invests in congestion relief through infrastructure improvements, incident response and traffic management, and makes investments in our multimodal programs.

The FY10 Program enhances local aid to counties and municipalities by $50 million by providing $25 million more in Municipal Aid and $25 million more in County Aid to further support the needs that our local communities have for infrastructure improvements and create more local jobs. The enhanced Municipal Aid alone benefited 87 more municipalities throughout the state than last year’s program.

Complementing the efforts of the Department, NJ TRANSIT’s Capital Program continues investments to modernize the transit system, invest in state-of-good-repair for the system including safety and security, and advance strategic expansion.

To deliver projects quicker, more efficiently and more effective we worked across the Department to improve our project delivery process. We have worked within the Department and with our partners at the Federal Highway Administration to advance projects through planning, environmental approvals, to design and then ultimately to construction sooner. This ongoing effort has already allowed us to accomplish a lot.

We continue to use our Smart Solutions value engineering initiative to identify cost savings by focusing on a project’s priorities and purpose rather than on improving every design element within the project. The smart solutions process has been fully incorporated into our business model, which allows us to improve a project’s value from its inception. We built upon the recognition from the Federal Highway Administration noted that New Jersey had the largest value engineering savings in the country at $327.2 million for Fiscal Year 2007.

As part of these efforts, the Department had a very successful 2009 aggressively advancing projects to construction. This past Fiscal Year was truly an historic year in construction contract awards for the Department. In FY2009 alone, NJDOT awarded 116 construction contracts valued at more than $1 billion for construction projects located throughout the State. This represented an increase of $319 million compared to FY 2008.

As you traveled around the state you could see the work being done. This past September the Department had 229 projects in construction, which is 96% higher than the same period in 2002.

We continued to invest our funds in smart ways by utilizing new materials in our pavement mixes to provide a more flexible and resilient pavement structure that extends service life when we repave. We have also increased preventive maintenance to keep many of New Jersey’s roads from further deteriorating.

We are doing work in all corners of the state, addressing our aging infrastructure and improving the transportation system for all our residents. Improvements addressing all aspects of our infrastructure needs. These are projects of all sizes.

One of those projects includes the new Route 36 Highlands Bridge that will replace the structurally deficient bridge that connects Sea Bright and Highlands Borough over the Shrewsbury River in Monmouth County. The southbound span of the new bridge was opened to traffic in October and we are scheduled to complete construction in December 2010.

We also completed the first contract for the Route 52 Causeway Replacement Project in Somers Point and Ocean City ahead of schedule. We broke ground on the $251 million second phase of construction for this project, which provides a vital link to major Jersey Shore recreational destinations. The entire project is expected to be completed by the end of 2012.

Construction continues on the rehabilitation project to improve I-78 with the Garden Interchange that includes two new ramps from the Garden State Parkway northbound to I-78 westbound and from the Garden State Parkway southbound to I-78 eastbound, widening of the bridges on I-78, and adding new acceleration and deceleration lanes. In September, we opened the ramp that allows drivers on the Garden State Parkway to reach destinations along New Jersey’s I-78 corridor without first having to double back from I-78 eastbound – a maneuver that can cost 10-20 minutes during busy travel times and historically has caused traffic back-ups on the Parkway and I-78.

We completed the Route 18 project in New Brunswick that not only provides access to downtown New Brunswick and Rutgers, but regional hospitals, major corporations, local businesses and residential communities.

We completed a roadway rehabilitation project on Route 130 in Burlington City, Delanco, Delran, Edgewater Park, and Willingboro in Burlington County. Separately, we provided significant safety improvements along Route 130 in Burlington City to address pedestrian safety along this busy corridor.

We completed pedestrian safety improvement projects on Route 322 in Glassboro that will provide improved safety for students, faculty, staff and visitors to safely cross a nearly one-mile segment of Route 322.
In August, we completed the Ramapo Avenue over Route 17 Bridge deck replacement in Mahwah, Bergen County which was funded through Recovery Act funds.

In 2009, we continued our focus on preserving our pavements along our interstates and highways by building upon our accomplishments of the past few years and kept the momentum moving on this critical effort. Just think, from fiscal years 2007 to 2009, NJDOT rehabilitated 1,800 miles of pavement and we also increased preventive maintenance to keep many of New Jersey’s roads from further deteriorating.

We also continued to advance critical projects through the planning phases so that we can move forward with construction. We received the Record of Decision from the Federal Highway Administration for the I-295/I-76/Route 42 Direct Connect project in South Jersey which allows the project’s right-of-way acquisition and construction planning to begin on this major congestion relief project. We also delivered the Route 21 Viaduct Bridge Rehabilitation and planned improvements for the Route 1&9 Pulaski Skyway from the planning phase to our construction team.

Our colleagues at NJ TRANSIT started construction on the $8.7 billion Mass Transit Tunnel project, being built in partnership with the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey that will provide for two new rail tunnels under the Hudson River, an expanded New York Penn Station and other key elements, reinvigorating the link between New Jersey and New York and benefiting the regional economy with improved mobility.

As we advanced our projects at the Department, we never lost sight of how important it is to make sure contracting opportunities are available to businesses big and small. We continued to show that we are fully committed to providing contracting opportunities to minority owned businesses – as more than $146 million has been awarded to small, minority and women owned businesses through the DBE and SBE program in Fiscal Year 2009.

On September 22, I was honored to have the opportunity to share in the experience of officially renaming the Engineering & Operations Building to the Jack Freidenrich Engineering & Operations Building, after the longest serving State Highway Engineer.

2009 was truly a remarkable and memorable year for the New Jersey Department of Transportation. I am proud of all that we accomplished with outstanding teamwork, dedication and passion for improving the quality of life in New Jersey. We achieved a great deal on behalf of the people of the State of New Jersey.

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  Last Updated:  January 13, 2010