December 8, 2014 Press Office
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NJTPA Puts Project On Priority List, Designates Funding For ‘Conceptual’ Plan

TRENTON – Senator Paul Sarlo welcomed the action taken today towards rebuilding the deteriorating and outdated Kingsland Avenue Bridge that connects Bergen and Essex counties. After years of advocating for funding to rebuild the 107-year-old drawbridge that carries more than 40,000 vehicles between Lyndhurst and Nutley each day, the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority on Monday put the project on its priority list and recommended the use of $750,000 to fund the needed study to determine the next steps in rebuilding the bridge.

“I’ve been fighting for years to get this bridge rebuilt so that it can safely handle the heavy traffic without the congestion and delays motorists are forced to endure,” said Senator Sarlo, who actively called on regional transportation officials to take action. “The Kingsland Avenue Bridge is an important part of the region’s transportation system but it is now more than a century old. This study is an important step towards repair or replacing a structure that was built two years after the Wright Brothers flew their first airplane.”

Senator Sarlo said that it can take as long as 30 minutes for motorists to get across the bridge during rush hour, adding time and frustration to their commutes and delays for businesses that have to move goods and services.

Senator Sarlo arranged a visit to the bridge by Senate President Steve Sweeney and other local public officials in August to bring attention to the need to improve the state’s crumbling infrastructure, with the Kingsland Bridge as an example of the thousands of bridges and countless miles of roadways throughout the state in desperate need of repair. Senator Sweeney and Senator Sarlo are both advocating for a renewal of the state’s Transportation Trust Fund to address the state’s needs.

“This bridge serves motorists in both counties and is important to the entire region but the two local towns don’t have the resources needed to fund it,” said Senator Sarlo. ”That is why I called upon the NJPTA to take it on as a regional responsibility. This is an important first step towards getting a new bridge.”

Named in honor of Joseph Carmine DeJessa, a Marine and former Lyndhurst resident who was killed in Vietnam, the bridge is a key part of the region’s transportation network, supporting access to Route 21, Route 3, as well as New York City and Newark.