New Jersey Transit (NJ Transit) has received approval from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to redirect $503 million in federal grant funding to support infrastructure improvements at Hoboken Terminal, County Yard in New Brunswick and the Raritan River Bridge. The funding, which includes the 25 percent local share, was originally allocated to NJ Transit’s TransitGrid Microgrid Central Facility (MCF) in Kearny, N.J.
NJ Transit notes an intensive review of industry proposals for the MCF revealed the project was not financially feasible. Since the project was originally designed, multiple improvements to the affected power grid have been enacted that have functionally made the MCF as envisioned at that time much less necessary than other critical resiliency projects. NJ Transit notes PSE&G has made significant investments in power grid resiliency under the Energy Strong program throughout the region that has greatly increased power reliability.
NJ Transit management, along with the NJ Transit Board of Directors, determined the MCF funding would have greater benefit if applied to other key resiliency projects to harden the rail system’s more highly exposed infrastructure, which are at greater risk of failure in the face of increasing climate-related threats, and will directly benefit transit users every day.
“Reallocation of the MCF funding not only supports these high-priority resiliency projects, it also ensures that good-paying, union construction jobs that this funding supports remain in New Jersey,” said New Jersey Department of Transportation Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti. “We appreciate the close partnership with the FTA that will better protect our transit system for all New Jerseyans.”
“NJ Transit is grateful for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s support throughout this entire process,” said NJ Transit President and CEO Kevin S. Corbett. “While the TransitGrid procurement process provided valuable knowledge for the future, it showed the funding would be better used to protect these other critical points around the state. This determination was reinforced by New Jersey’s utilities’ work to strengthen the state’s power grid since Superstorm Sandy.”
All of the affected projects within the Sandy Resilience program are critical pieces of rail infrastructure including bridges, safe haven storage yards and infrastructure located directly on waterfront properties bearing the brunt of past and future storm events. Approximate reallocation will be:
- Delco Lead & County Yard Expansion- $175 million
- Raritan River Bridge- $240 million
- Hoboken Long Slip- 88 million
Delco Lead and County Yard Expansion
The Delco Lead and County Yard Expansion is a multifaceted project that would address the operations, storage, and resiliency needs along the Northeast Corridor and provide a safe haven for rail cars in the event of a major storm or flooding event. The first two phases include the construction of a new Storage & Inspection facility, which would contain crew quarters and equipment storage space, and the expansion of County Yard, which would contain five tracks with the capacity to store 120 rail cars in an area resilient against flooding. The final phase is the construction of a new Delco Lead track that would extend 3.5 miles south and have the capacity to store an additional 288 rail cars. The new track would meet up with the proposed Midline Loop Project in North Brunswick. NJ Transit says the project would significantly improve its operational efficiency while reducing costs and enhance the agency’s ability to provide timely and reliable service to its customers, especially following extreme weather events.
Raritan River Bridge
The project includes a new replacement of the existing obsolete bridge damaged in Superstorm Sandy with a new, two track vertical lift bridge on an improved vertical alignment. NJ Transit notes the new bridge would provide a more resilient structure with additional vertical clearance above the 100-year flood elevation. The introduction of new mechanical and electrical systems would provide for more reliable movable span operations, resulting in reduced maintenance costs from current thresholds. In addition, improved navigation channel geometry at the lift span would significantly reduce risk of vessel collision with the bridge’s pier protection systems and associated costly repairs.
Hoboken Long Slip
The project is broken into two phases:
- Filling of the existing canal with structural fill and surcharging
- Construction of six new tracks with high level platforms and a small crew quarters facility on the filled in canal.
NJ Transit says filling the canal eliminates a major point of flood water inflow from the river into the yard and greater Hoboken. The elevated tracks create a safe haven for rail cars in the event of another major storm or flooding event. The additional tracks would be constructed above the base flood elevation and provide emergency capacity in the event multiple main track outages are incurred, such as following an extreme weather event. This increased capacity would also allow for implementation of the Hoboken Terminal Redevelopment Plan, which includes a comprehensive approach to providing substantial resiliency and redundancy, as well as enhanced capacity, ensuring its service as an essential hub facility within the NJ Transit transportation network.