Pascrell, Sherrill, NJ Leaders Coordinate Efforts to Replace Kingsland Avenue Bridge
Decaying Bergen-Essex transportation artery critical to regional infrastructure
PATERSON, NJ – U.S. Reps. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) and Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ-11), Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo, Jr., and local officials met today to tour the Kingsland Avenue Bridge. The local, state, and federal leaders discussed their joint efforts to obtain full funding to fix or replace the bridge.
“The year the Kingsland Avenue Bridge was built, Theodore Roosevelt was President, Edward Stokes was governor, and the New York Giants beat the Philadelphia Athletics in the World Series,” said Rep. Pascrell, a former longtime member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. “A decaying two-lane road beset by traffic bottlenecks and drawbridge jams is no longer acceptable for the 21,000 vehicles crossing this bridge every day to go to work, take kids to the doctor, and run to the market. Our federal, state, county, and local officials are united together to get the bridge fixed. I am happy my office worked with these stakeholders to move the permitting process with the United States Army Corps of Engineers forward and that no one is dragging their heels. I will do whatever is necessary to keep this project moving so bridge traffic here can always move.”
“Kingsland is just one of the hundreds of projects in our state where federal investment is a critical component of whether or not we can move our region forward and fix our crumbling bridges, roads, and rails,” said Rep. Sherrill. “New Jersey sends our tax dollars to fund infrastructure projects all over the country, and we need to see some of that money come back so we can continue to power America’s economic engine. I joined with Congressman Pascrell — who represents the residents on the other side of this bridge — as well as local, state, and planning authority officials to make sure we advocate for federal investment in infrastructure in New Jersey.”
“Our bridges and roads help make up the backbone of our surface transportation network,” said Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco. “When our bridges and roads fall into disrepair due to their advancing age, it is important that we repair and replace them because maintaining our infrastructure has a direct effect on local economic growth, quality of life and property value. We are grateful for the work of Congressmen Bill Pascrell and Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers and look forward to replacing this bridge for the benefit of all residents in the region.”
“Improving and modernizing infrastructure to meet community needs is an important initiative for local, county, and state governments,” said Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. “Congressman Pascrell and Congresswoman Sherrill are doing a great job by updating both Bergen and Essex County on the status of the Kingsland Avenue Bridge which is a part of the NJTPA’s federally funded Local Capital Project Delivery program.”
Because of the work of Reps. Pascrell and Sherrill, the Army Corp of Engineers today issued a permit to overhaul the bridge in accordance with the jurisdiction of the U.S. Coast Guard and Sections 404 of the Clean Water Act. This permit will allow Bergen and Essex counties to work with appropriate state agencies to get final approval from the U.S. Coast Guard.
Also known as the Joseph Carmine De Jessa Memorial Bridge, in honor of a Lyndhurst resident who died in the Vietnam War, the 364-foot Kingsland Avenue Bridge connects Nutley in Essex County to Lyndhurst in Bergen County. The bridge was built in 1905 and has structural and functional limitations that don’t meet today’s standards. The bridge has been temporarily closed in recent years for structural and mechanical repairs. Due to its age, the bridge has deteriorated, and routine maintenance can no longer address its deficiencies.
Bergen and Essex county leaders agree that the bridge should be replaced with a fixed bridge, which would save in construction and future operation and maintenance costs. As the lead project sponsor, Bergen County initiated Local Concept Development in June 2016 with a budget of $816,001 funded by the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority. The Navigational Impact Report was submitted to the Coast Guard in October 2016 and approved in July 2019. The Coast Guard issued a vertical clearance predetermination of 16 feet and noted that a minimum of 12 feet (which would allow for a fixed-span structure) would be acceptable if mitigation efforts are accepted by Passaic Valley Sewage Commission to continue marine trash skimmer operations under the Kingsland Avenue Bridge.
The bridge’s decay is considerable, receiving a sufficiency rating of 24.3 out of 100. Per the latest Bridge Reevaluation Survey Report in 2014, the superstructure is in poor condition, receiving a rating of 4 out of 10, which is due to severe corrosion and/or loss of section of below deck truss members, gusset plates, floor beams, and stringers. 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. In the past, the swing span has failed to open and has been stuck in the open position, badly clogging traffic. Additionally, the bridge railings do not meet current crash standards and the approach traffic control system does not operate in accordance with current standards and is not fully interlocked with the bridge control system.
Rep. Pascrell has been calling for a replacement for the Kingsland Avenue Bridge for years. In 2014 he urged the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority to move forward on plans to alleviate growing traffic problems on the Passaic River span.