About the Project

Essex County and Hudson County are conducting a study of the existing Bridge Street Bridge over the Passaic River to improve its structural deficiencies and maintain an important transportation connection for residents and commuters in Essex County and Hudson County who travel to and from Newark's downtown business district and residential complexes. The bridge has been temporarily closed in recent years for structural and mechanical repairs. Due to its age, the bridge has deteriorated over time and routine maintenance can no longer address the deficiencies.

This Local Concept Development Study is the first step to bridge improvements. The costs are too great for Essex County and Hudson County, so it requires Federal funding. An application was filed with the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) who oversees this phase of the project, known as Local Concept Development (LCD).

During this phase a well-defined and well-justified Purpose and Need Statement will be developed focusing on the need to improve safety and improve the current crossing over the Passaic River. LCD Phase elements also include data collection; coordination with the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT), Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), community stakeholders, and permitting agencies; the development of a reasonable number of sensible and practical conceptual alternatives; the determination of a Preliminary Preferred Alternative (PPA); and to investigate all aspects of the project. These aspects will include environmental screening, right of way, access, utilities, design, community involvement, constructability, and cost analysis.

LCD Flowchart (PDF - 365KB)

NJTPA has developed flowcharts that show the project phases and the LCD steps to complete for the Local Concept Development phase. Once an alternative for bridge improvements has been determined as a PPA with resolution of support, NJDOT Local Aid would then administer the project with Hudson County and Essex County, utilizing Federal funding as available for the design and construction phases.

Project Overview

The existing bridge is in poor overall condition. Several factors contribute to this assessment:

Condition: The bridge is structurally deficient with its superstructure in poor physical condition with localized advanced section losses to most steel truss members, localized advanced section losses to floor beams and girders in the approach spans, and holed through truss gusset plates in the swing span. The substructure is in satisfactory condition. The bridge’s mechanical machinery and electrical system are in fair to poor condition and consist of new and obsolete devices and sub-systems that are nearing the end of their serviceable life.

Highway Safety: The bridge railings do not meet current crash and safety standards.

Public Safety: The bridge interlocking system is not is not in accordance with current acceptable standards.

Seismic: The bridge is susceptible to seismic forces and does not meet current seismic design standards.
NJTPA is administering the project, however the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) provides the funding. Any transportation projects receiving Federal funding must also follow the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process. The Bridge Street Bridge LCD Study must identify any environmental concerns and develop an environmental profile. When analyzing alternatives, one looks to avoid or minimize environmental impacts and if that’s not possible then to provide mitigation. The environmental resources include air, noise, hazardous or contaminated sites, parks, wetlands, water resources, social and economic impacts, and cultural resources such as historic structures and facilities.

The New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) Bureau of Environmental Resources (BEPR) oversees this aspect of the project in cooperation with NJTPA, Essex County and Hudson County, to coordinate with the permitting agencies such as NJDEP and NJSHPO (New Jersey State Historic Preservation Office) to develop a cohesive plan for proposed improvements. The agencies look carefully at comments from the public and thus community involvement is an important part of environmental process and moving the project forward with consensus and environmental compliance. The results of the environmental screening, which is in the project schedule, will be presented at the public meetings. A good Purpose & Need Statement and documentation is important for the review agencies to work well with the project team in moving the project forward from the LCD Phase to design and construction. Community involvement is an integral part of this process and the LCD Study.
Essex County, Hudson County and the cooperating agencies of NJTPA and NJDOT, are committed to developing transportation improvements that best balance transportation needs, the environment, community concerns and cost. As part of the Community Outreach effort, numerous meetings will be held to share project information, obtain input and broad based support for bridge improvements from the local officials, community stakeholders, and the general public. The primary tasks of stakeholders are to assist in the development of the Project Purpose and Need Statement, assist in the development of conceptual alternatives, identify possible fatal flaws, and to assist in the recommendation of the Preliminary Preferred Alternative (PPA) based on the Project Purpose and Need.
Develop Project Purpose and Need Statement: Fall 2016

Development of Conceptual Alternatives: Winter 2017

Recommendation of Preliminary Preferred Alternative: Fall 2019

Submission of Draft Concept Development Report: Winter 2020

Obtain Resolutions of Support for Preliminary Preferred Alternative: Winter 2020

Completion of Local Concept Development Phase: Spring 2020
Local Officials Meeting No. 1 for input on Purpose and Need: Fall 2016

Community Stakeholders Meeting No. 1 for Purpose & Need Statement Development: Fall 2016

Public Information Center No. 1 for Purpose and Need Statement Development: Fall 2016

Community Stakeholders Meeting No. 2 for input on Conceptual Alternatives: Spring 2017

Local Officials Meeting No. 2 for Preliminary Preferred Alternative Recommendation: Fall 2019

Public Information Center No. 2 for Conceptual Alternatives and Preliminary Preferred Alternative Recommendation: Fall 2019

Obtain Municipal and County Resolutions of Support: Winter 2020