NJTPA Update Blog

March 2022

Commissioner Bartlett Highlights Priorities for Term as NJTPA Chair

Posted: 3/22/2022 9:40:28 AM

Passaic County Commissioner John BartlettPassaic County Commissioner John W. Bartlett told fellow Board members that as NJTPA Chair, one of his top priorities will be working with them to seek grant funding available under the new federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
“As members of this Board, we can make sure these funds are used responsibly and equitably to address critical transportation needs,” he said at the March 14 Board of Trustees meeting.
The Board elected a new Executive Committee, including naming Commissioner Bartlett Chair, at its January meeting.
Chairman Bartlett noted that the NJTPA is available as a resource to local governments applying for competitive federal grants and can help with data, coordinating regional projects and writing letters of support. He added that tying local projects to larger regional needs, like those identified in Plan 2050, the NJTPA’s Long Range Transportation Plan, will help strengthen applications.
“Plan 2050 emphasizes how transportation connects people to opportunity,” he said. “Transportation does more than get people from one place to another. It creates economic opportunity by helping our region attract and retain employers. It moves goods in and around our region and our state. New technologies, like alternate fuels, and greener building practices, also help create a healthier environment.”
He added that investments should focus on ensuring the transportation network is safe for travelers of all ages and abilities.
Another area Chairman Bartlett plans to focus on is raising the profile of the NJTPA to ensure the public is aware of its work and encouraged to get involved.
“The NJTPA has been a leader on public engagement, and I hope we can continue to build on these efforts,” he said. “This includes better explaining our role and our work to residents, but also engaging them in NJTPA projects and programs.”


NJTPA Board Funds Four Studies to Explore Improving County Roads, Bridge

Posted: 3/14/2022 11:58:38 AM

The Lenape Island Road Bridge over Indian Lake, also known as Lenape Trail, in Denville Township.The NJTPA Board of Trustees approved $3.8 million in grants to four counties today for studies that will explore ways to improve county roads and bridges.

The studies being funded through the Fiscal Year 2023 Local Concept Development Program include:

Click the links above for additional information on each project.

The projects are anticipated to kick off in September.

The Local Capital Project Delivery Program awards grants to NJTPA member counties and cities to investigate all aspects of a project, including environmental, right of way access, design, and feasibility issues.

Local Concept Development is the first phase of the Local Capital Project Delivery Program, which guides projects from initial concepts all the way to construction. During the initial phase, the County will identify and compare reasonable alternatives and strategies and select a preferred alternative to advance to the next phase, Preliminary Engineering. Projects that complete this initial investigative work may be eligible for eventual construction with federal funds. More information on the program can be found at www.njtpa.org/lcpd.

Major Freight Rail Investments Support Booming Port

Posted: 3/1/2022 8:34:19 AM

The Point-No-Point Bridge (foreground) and Pulaski Skyway (background)A series of major freight rail projects will greatly improve the speed and efficiency of moving containers by rail to and from the region’s port facilities, according to presentations at the NJTPA’s February 22 Freight Initiatives Committee meeting. Those facilities, including the port complex in Newark and Elizabeth and Global Container Terminals in Bayonne, are handling record container volumes even as other U.S. ports suffer delays and congestion.

Ryan Hill, Chief Engineer of Design and Construction at Conrail, said the company is completing the final signal work on the Waverly Loop project, which is allowing trains moving north to bypass the Oak Island Rail Yard. Trains previously had to enter the yard before proceeding. He said constructing the loop project was challenging, including the need to build two new bridges in an area that is largely swamp.

Conrail, he said, is also awaiting bids to commence replacement of the Point-No-Point Bridge which is used by freight trains traveling between Newark and Kearney over the Passaic River. The new moveable swing bridge will replace the deteriorating existing structure, which dates back to 1901.

Preparation of the project over the last five years required “a lot of negotiations, coordination and plan review” among CSX Railroad, Amtrak, NJ TRANSIT and PATH, among others, along with extensive real estate purchases, Hill said. It is expected to take three years to complete.

The bridge replacement and Wavery Loop projects, he said, represent the largest rail improvements undertaken by Conrail since 1999 when it took over operation of the shared rail assets of CSX and Norfolk Southern in the port area, after the larger Conrail system was disbanded. The projects will take advantage of additional track capacity added in the past year to the main freight line in Kearney.

Another major freight rail project taking shape would create a southerly connection from the Express Rail facility in Port Elizabeth to the national rail system. Currently at the preliminary stages, the project is a partnership between Conrail and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, said Cory Wyatt, Manager of Intermodal Rail Development at the Port Authority. Currently CSX and Norfolk Southern trains must head north into Newark to connect with southbound tracks, creating “a huge need” for a direct southerly connection, said Wyatt.

The project will help improve a key part of the ExpressRail system which operates at six port facilities in New York and New Jersey, allowing containers to be loaded directly on rail cars at the ports rather than being trucked to rail yards first. He said the system is only at half capacity, with room to accommodate continuing growth of port traffic. Also at the meeting, Chris Lamm, Principal at Cambridge Systematics, presented on NJTPA’s Freight Rail Grade Crossing Assessment Update; and Scott Parker, Senior Project Manager at Jacobs Engineering presented on NJTPA’s Freight Concept Development Program studies. A recording of the meeting and presentation slides are here.

PHOTO BY: Famartin, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons