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NJ Bridge Replacement Taking Over 10 Years

Friday, December 13, 2019

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The Wittpenn Bridge, which connects Kearney, New Jersey, and Jersey City, New Jersey, over the Hackensack River, should have been opened by now, but is taking over 10 years to be built, according to reports.

According to NJ.com, the New Jersey Department of Transportation began construction on the project in November 2011. The new $480 million structure will replace the Route 7 Wittpenn Bridge.

Project History

The bridge currently in place, which has two eastbound and two westbound travel lanes, was built in 1930, running 2,169 feet long with 14 deck-girder spans and three through-truss approach spans. The structure also features two tower spans and a 209-foot vertical lift main span.

According to NJDOT, the decision to replace the Wittpenn Bridge helps with a number of issues, including dealing with structural deficiency through replacement, improving traffic for the area, increasing vertical clearance over the river when the bridge is in the closed position in order to decrease the number of traffic conflicts, and reducing the cost of maintenance.

The new vertical lift structure will feature two through lanes, an auxiliary lane and a shoulder in each direction, as well as a sidewalk running along the eastbound roadway. There are also plans to accommodate bicycle and pedestrian traffic. The new bridge, which will be located north of the old, will also have a minimum vertical clearance of 70 feet, in comparison to the old structure’s 35 feet.

China Construction America, a subsidiary of China State Construction Engineering Corporation Ltd., is serving as the general contractor on the project.

Wittpenn’s orthotropic deck—the component that allows water traffic to move underneath—was manufactured in Portland, Oregon, and was floated down the Panama Canal for shipment. That occurred almost two years ago, though, and the component is still sitting on a barge. Originally, the new Wittpenn Bridge was scheduled to open this year.

Recent Developments and Delays

According to NJ.com, officials have attributed the delay behind hoisting the new lift bridge into place—which should have happened earlier this year—to challenges with installing machinery, as well as cables and counterweights needed to operate the component.

The orthotropic bridge deck, which was used as a replacement for old concrete bridge decks on the Whitestone Bridge in New York, is also a state-first for New Jersey. Last year’s winter weather was also named a culprit behind the delay.

The new bridge, currently slated to open in 2022, will also continue to bear the name of the old, in honor of Henry Otto Wittpenn, a former Jersey City mayor who also served as a state highway department member.

   

Tagged categories: Bridges; Infrastructure; NA; North America; Ongoing projects; Program/Project Management; Project Management; Transportation

Comment from john lienert, (12/13/2019, 7:08 AM)

more money for sopranos, please


Comment from Mario Colica, (12/13/2019, 7:20 AM)

How they protech steel against rust? The article doesn't mention this important point


Comment from Andrew Piedl, (12/13/2019, 8:38 AM)

Not surprising, as most of the time was during the christie era, (legacy of closing the GW bridge as retribution for political foe, stopping construction projects state wide during a funding battle). It is a cluster cuss of a site.


Comment from Chuck Nizzi, (12/14/2019, 4:25 PM)

With "China" in the name of the contractor , who is surprised it is taking so long. Did the contract have a schedule? Penalties for late completion?


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