Governor Murphy this morning held a press conference to discuss three critical infrastructure projects that the state is moving forward with. The first is the project currently underway to replace the Route 22 bridge over Chestnut Street, which will improve traffic flow and safety. The state is also close to completing the replacement of the Wittpenn Bridge that connects Jersey City and Kearny. The third project, which is the reconstruction of Route 27 to Route 21, is expected to break ground in the spring of 2021.
“New Jersey is moving forward with a few bridge repairs and replacements near our ports. This is important, but we need to do more. More than a third of our bridges are still in need of repair. We need a stronger Fix-It-First program so that we can put our money into fixing infrastructure that needs it instead of widening parts of the NJ Turnpike and Garden State Parkway,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “The money from the unnecessary highway widenings would be better spent making our bridges safer and improving mass transit in New Jersey.”
Two recent reports show that New Jersey had more bridges in need of repair in 2019 than in 2018, although the number of bridges in poor condition went down. New Jersey had 2,357 bridges in need of repairs in 2019, with an estimated cost of $9.9 billion. This is up from 2018, when NJ had 2,305 bridges in need of repair with an estimated cost of $7 billion. The average age of bridges in New Jersey is 55 years old.
“New Jersey needs to step up when it comes to our transportation infrastructure. Instead of spending $16 billion on unnecessary highway widenings, we need to be improving our existing roads and bridges and expanding mass transit in the state. We have thousands of bridges that are still in need of repair in our state. People in New Jersey are paying more money to be stuck in traffic longer. We need to adopt a Fix-It-First Program instead of spending billions on highway widening projects,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “If New Jersey really cared about commuters and keeping people safe, they would focus spending on mass transit and bridge repairs - not highway widenings.”