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About the Project

Project Overview
Hudson County and Essex County are conducting a study of the existing Clay Street Bridge over the Passaic River to improve its structural deficiencies and maintain an important transportation connection for residents and commuters in Hudson County to and from Newark's downtown business district and residential complexes.  The bridge has been closed several times in recent years for structural and mechanical repairs.  Due to its age, the bridge has deteriorated over time and routine maintenance can no longer address the deficiencies.

This Local Concept Development Study is the first step to bridge improvements. The costs are too great for Hudson County and Essex County, so it requires Federal funding.  An application was filed with the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) who oversees this phase of the project, known as Local Concept Development (LCD). 
Local Project Delivery Process
Local Capital Project Delivery (LCPD) Program (PDF - 23KB)


During this phase a well-defined and well-justified Purpose and Need Statement will be developed focusing on the need to improve safety and improve the current crossing over the Passaic River.  LCD Phase elements also include data collection; coordination with the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT), Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), community stakeholders, and permitting agencies; the development of a reasonable number of sensible and practical conceptual alternatives; the determination of a Preliminary Preferred Alternative (PPA); and to investigate all aspects of the project.  These aspects will include environmental screening, right of way, access, utilities, design, community involvement, constructability, and cost analysis.
LCD Flowchart (PDF - 365KB)

NJTPA has developed flowcharts that show the project phases and the LCD steps to complete for the Local Concept Development phase.  Once an alternative for bridge improvements has been determined as a PPA with resolution of support, NJDOT Local Aid would then administer the project with Hudson County and Essex County, utilizing Federal funding as available for the design and construction phases.


Project Background

The existing bridge is in serious overall condition.  Several factors contribute to this assessment:

Condition:

The bridge superstructure is in poor physical condition with localized advanced section losses to steel truss members above and below the deck level and localized section losses to girders and floor beams in the swing span.  The substructure is in generally fair condition but has a high potentially vulnerability to scour.  The bulkhead at the southwest channel embankment is severely deteriorated and failed.  The bridge’s electrical system is over 25 years old and consists of new and obsolete devices and sub-systems that are nearing the end of their serviceable life.  The swing span has failed to open and has been stuck in the open position.



Deterioration of Existing Bridge
 
Highway Safety:The bridge railings do not meet current crash standards.
Public Safety:The bridge approach traffic control system does not operate in accordance with current acceptable standards and is not fully interlocked with the bridge control system.
Seismic:The bridge is susceptible to seismic forces and does not meet current seismic design standards.


Environmental Process

NJTPA is administering the project, however the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) provides the funding.  Any transportation projects receiving Federal funding must also follow the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process.  The Clay Street Bridge LCD Study must identify any environmental concerns and develop an environmental profile.  When analyzing alternatives, one looks to avoid or minimize environmental impacts and if that’s not possible then to provide mitigation.  The environmental resources include air, noise, hazardous or contaminated sites, parks, wetlands, water resources, social and economic impacts, and cultural resources such as historic structures and facilities.

The New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) Bureau of Environmental Resources (BEPR) oversees this aspect of the project in cooperation with NJTPA, Hudson County and Essex County, to coordinate with the permitting agencies such as NJDEP and NJSHPO (State Historic Preservation Office) to develop a cohesive plan for proposed improvements.  The agencies look carefully at comments from the public and thus community involvement is an important part of environmental process and moving the project forward with consensus and environmental compliance.  The results of the environmental screening, which is in the project schedule, will be presented at the public meetings.  A good Purpose & Need Statement and documentation is important for the review agencies to work well with the project team in moving the project forward from the LCD Phase to design and construction.  Community involvement is an integral part of this process and the LCD Study.


Community Involvement

Hudson County, Essex County, and the cooperating agencies of NJTPA and NJDOT, are committed to developing transportation improvements that best balance transportation needs, the environment, community concerns and cost.  As part of the Community Outreach effort, numerous meetings will be held to share project information, obtain input and broad based support for bridge improvements from the local officials, community stakeholders, and the general public.

The primary tasks of stakeholders are to assist in the development of the Project Purpose and Need Statement, assist in the development of conceptual alternatives, identify possible fatal flaws, and to assist in the recommendation of the Preliminary Preferred Alternative (PPA) based on the Project Purpose and Need.



LCD Project Schedule (Major Milestones)

Develop Project Purpose and Need Statement

August 2014

Development of Conceptual Alternatives

November 2014

Selection of Preliminary Preferred Alternative

April 2015

Submission of Draft Concept Development Report

July 2015

Obtain Resolutions of Support for Preliminary Preferred Alternative

August 2015

Completion of Local Concept Development Phase

October 2015

 

Anticipated Community Involvement Schedule

Community Stakeholders Meeting for Purpose & Need Statement Development

March 24, 2014

Public Information Center for Purpose and Need Statement Development

April 7, 2014

Community Stakeholders Meeting No. 2 - Input for Developed Alternatives

October 22, 2014 
(City of Newark)

November 7, 2014  (Borough of East Newark)

Public Officials Meeting No. 2 for Preliminary Preferred Alternative Selection

June 4, 2015 
(City of Newark)

June 4, 2015  (Borough of East Newark)

Public Information Center No. 2 for Preliminary Preferred Alternative Selection

June 24, 2015 

Public Officials Meeting No. 3 for Obtaining Resolutions of Support

July 2015