A concept first discussed during North Bergen Mayor Nick Sacco’s first term in office, after years of delays, Gov. Phil Murphy (D) joined statewide and local officials for the ribbon cutting of the 69th Street bridge overpass.
“2011 came and the ‘bridge to nowhere’ was just beginning to get here. The nickname, the bridge to nowhere, was very fitting – it was a disgrace, you couldn’t go near it, had to go around it and had to go around it through railroad traffic,” Sacco, also the state senator of the 32nd Legislative District, recalled at a press conference this morning.
He also noted that back in 1994 (Sacco was first elected mayor in 1991), he negotiated three overpass deals with then-Gov. Christine Todd Whitman.
While the structures at Secaucus and Paterson Plank Roads, respectively, were completed by 2003, Sacco said that “the great stall began” after that.
“It was absolutely a virtual nightmare,”he added, noting that former Gov. Chris Christie (R) delayed the project for over six years before Murphy succeeded him.
“Listen, this is a huge deal. One of the first conversations I had with Mayor Sacco, and I applaud his leadership in so many respects including here, this was one of the first conversations we had,” Murphy recalled in an interview with HCV.
“It’s been a public safety issue, it’s been a source of enormous frustration for commuters and businesses, it’s been kicked down the road – lots of finger pointing. We’re the densest state in the nation, Hudson County’s probably the densest county in the nation.”
The governor further stated that improving infrastructure and public transportation was pivotal in turning around the economy in The Garden State.
CJ Hesse, of Atlantic Highlands, was brought in to complete the project last year and completed it in nearly 12 months flat.
The bridge provides a grade separation at the intersection of 69th Street and an existing freight railroad corridor in the town of North Bergen.
This grade-crossing consists of five existing railroad tracks owned by CSX Transportation (CSXT) and one existing track owned by the New York Susquehanna and Western (NYS&W) railroad.
Additionally, the grade separation project includes related roadway improvements and area storm water drainage.
“The completion of this bridge project plays a critical safety role in separating vehicles from the freight trains in North Bergen,” said NJ Transit Executive Director Kevin Corbett.
“The completion of this project is an example of what can be done when everyone comes together, ultimately improving the lives of North Bergen residents by providing a safer roadway with improved traffic flow,” added NJ TRANSIT Chair/New Jersey Department of Transportation Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti.
Despite her mother passing away last night, Gutierrez-Scaccetti still attended the presser.
Furthermore, Freeholder Chair Anthony Vainieri (D-8) served as the master of ceremonies for the event.
The press conference streamed live on our Facebook page and can be viewed below: