‘This is a critical choke point for the whole coastline’: Construction underway on Raritan River train bridge
A project to replace a rail bridge that is more than a century old in Middlesex County is moving forward.
The bridge that spans South Amboy and Perth Amboy over the Raritan River was built in 1908. New Jersey Transit is now moving forward with a replacement bridge.
“This is a critical, probably the most critical piece of infrastructure along the whole coastline,” says NJ Transit president and CEO Kevin Corbett.
The bridge helps connect the Jersey Shore to Newark and New York City by rail.
“This is a critical choke point for the whole coastline. We only have three stations on the coastline north of this, so everybody is dependent on this bridge to get home who's on the other side of the river,” Corbett says.
A newer, taller, and stronger bridge is now rising out of the water. Holes bored 200 feet into the riverbed are being filled with rebar and concrete, building piers that will support American-made steel and a new lift-span draw bridge.
The existing bridge is actually older than the infamous Portal North Bridge. Due to damage from Superstorm Sandy, trains have a 30 mph speed limit across the current Raritan Bay Bridge, instead of the usual 60 mph.
“It’s in a weakened condition. Safe, but weakened,” Corbett says. “This'll be like the pyramids, even if Sandy hits it, the structure itself, even if it will come over the tracks, when it recedes, the structure itself will be fine.”
The new Raritan River Bridge is halfway complete. This and the new Portal North Bridge are set to be complete by 2026.
“That’s a good kind of horse race, to make sure we have them both done by 2026,” Corbett says.
The entire Raritan River Bridge replacement project is expected to cost $800 million, including the demolition of the old bridge when the replacement is completed.