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.

The Local Preliminary Engineering (PE) Phase is the second step to bridge improvements. The PE Phase follows the Local Concept Development (LCD) Phase, which was the first phase of the project and was completed in September 2020. This project is federally funded.

Local Capital Project Delivery (LCPD) Program (PDF – 23KB)

Preliminary Engineering Phase Delivery
The PE Phase involves performing engineering tasks and technical environmental studies. Objectives include obtaining approval from the community through a public information center, approval of the environmental document and creation of an Approved Project Plan. If a design exception is necessary on a project, preparation and approval of the Design Exception Report will be done during the PE Phase. A number of activities are simultaneously set in motion based on the Preliminary Preferred Alternative (PPA), such as community involvement (meetings with affected property, business owners), agency consultation, environmental documentation, design level mapping and design services.

During the previous phase of this project, the Local Concept Development Study, a well-defined and well-justified Purpose and Need Statement was developed focusing on the need to improve safety and improve the current crossing over the Passaic River. LCD Phase elements also included 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 investigation of all aspects of the project. These aspects included environmental screening, right of way, access, utilities, design, community involvement, constructability, and cost analysis.

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 Local Preliminary Engineering (PE) Phase 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 Local PE Phase to design and construction. Community involvement is an integral part of this process and the Local PE Phase.

Initiation of Preliminary Engineering Phase: Winter 2023

Submission of Design Exception Report: Winter 2024

Submission of Environmental Document: Winter 2024

Develop Final Design Scope Statement: Spring 2024

Submission of Preliminary Engineering Report: Summer 2024

Continue Public Outreach & Involvement: Throughout Phase

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.

Community Stakeholder Meeting, City of Harrison: Fall 2023

Community Stakeholder Meeting, City of Newark: Fall 2023

Public Information Meeting (PIM) No. 1, City of Harrison: Spring 2024

Public Information Meeting (PIM) No. 2, City of Newark: Spring 2024