Bayonne Council President and mayoral hopeful Sharon Ashe Nadrowski says that the Peninsula City “needs to lead the conversation” on the $4.7 billion New Jersey Turnpike Authority’s extension plan.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“As anyone who has commuted over the bridge knows that for the last 30 years we have had to deal with a roadway that is undersized. The constant traffic is only made worse by the ‘necessary repairs’ which seem to be an annual challenge,” she said in a statement.
Over a decade ago the NJPA proposed plans to construct a new truck exit, 14X, which was designed to redirect all truck traffic to Global terminals and the waterfront warehousing located in Jersey City while removing trucks from Bayonne roadways.
While that plan never came to fruition, the new three-stage proposal, which is opposed by Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop and other local advocacy groups, would widen the extension to four lanes in both directions – replacing exit 14 in Newark and 14A in Bayonne.
The next phase would widen 14A to Columbus Drive in Jersey City to three lanes, while the final phase would replace elevated structures from Columbus Drive to Jersey Avenue.
“Unfortunately that plan [14X] was blocked by forces outside of Bayonne and instead we have a redesigned 14A that did not help Bayonne residents that still sit in traffic with trucks. My fear is that those outside forces may be at work again and that we need make sure that Bayonne does not get left out of the conversation,” explained Nadrowski.
“Now that Bayonne has started developing MOTBY and has approved a UPS logistic center the expansion of the bridge is even more pressing. I understand the need to review the projects community impact, but Bayonne needs to lead the conversation and have a voice in the process.”
Bayonne does not have the benefits of mass transit like other Hudson County communities and relies heavily on its bridges to access points west and south of the city, she added, noting she has reached out to Fulop and Newark Mayor Ras Baraka to discuss the situation.
“We support a new bridge that would have more lanes to handle current traffic volume. At the same time, we support expanding Light Rail, ferry, and bus service,” Mayor Jimmy Davis told NJ Advance Media last week.
“We definitely need to take advantage of technologies that would reduce air pollution. The Turnpike vs. mass transit should not be an ‘either/or’ choice. There must be ‘both/and’ solutions.”
Editor’s note: This story was updated with a comment from Mayor Jimmy Davis.