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Pascrell Urges NJTPA to Replace Lyndhurst Bridge

Cites structural deficiencies, traffic congestion as reason for infrastructure improvement

Washington, DC, August 12, 2014

Today, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09), a member of the House Ways and Means Committee who served for a decade on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, urged the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) to advance a plan to replace the De Jessa Memorial Bridge between Lyndhurst and Nutley. In a letter to NJTPA Executive Director Mary K. Murphy, Rep. Pascrell cited the aging bridge’s structural deficiencies and significant traffic congestion as reason for replacement.

“As you may know, like too many of our bridges in New Jersey and across our nation, the De Jessa Bridge over the Passaic River is functionally obsolete and structurally deficient,” wrote Rep. Pascrell.  “The bridge serves as an important connection between Essex County and Bergen County, and is owned by both counties. The two counties have agreed upon a plan to rehabilitate and replace the bridge. It is imperative that the NJTPA work with its counterparts at the New Jersey Department of Transportation to find the resources to help advance this proposal.”

Opened in 1905, the span was rededicated in 1981 in memory of Joseph Carmine De Jessa, a U.S. Marine and the first Lyndhurst native killed in the Vietnam War. The bridge has since been deemed functionally obsolete, with Bergen and Essex Counties submitting a proposal to NJDOT to have the bridge rebuilt. Both counties are also working to acquire land in order to accommodate a widening of roads approaching the bridge, which spans the Passaic River.

Rep. Pascrell has been a staunch advocate of transportation funding, spending a decade as a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. In July, Rep. Pascrell pushed for a long-term solution to the expiring Highway Trust Fund, noting that in New Jersey 10% of our bridges are structurally deficient and 25% are functionally obsolete, while 66% of our roads are in poor or mediocre condition. Last week, President Obama signed a short-term $10.8 billion measure that will fund highway and bridge repairs for the next ten months.
The full text of the letter follows:
August 11, 2014

Ms. Mary K. Murphy
Executive Director
North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority
One Newark Center, 17th Floor
Newark, NJ 07102


Dear Ms. Murphy:

I am writing to urge your agency to work to advance a project for the rehabilitation and replacement of the De Jessa Memorial Bridge between Lyndhurst and Nutley. This bridge, which serves as a regional link to Route 21, is no longer sufficient to serve its purpose and is affecting the daily lives of many of my constituents.

As you may know, like too many of our bridges in New Jersey and across our nation, the De Jessa Bridge over the Passaic River is functionally obsolete and structurally deficient. The bridge serves as an important connection between Essex County and Bergen County, and is owned by both counties. Furthermore, the traffic at the intersections surrounding the bridge is unbearable, and is creating economic consequences for daily commuters as well as a number of local business establishments. Approximately 20,000 vehicles travel Riverside Avenue and 40,000 vehicles cross the bridge every day, making clear that a two-lane bridge built in 1905 cannot possibly meet the needs of the modern day.  

The two counties have agreed upon a plan to rehabilitate and replace the bridge. It is imperative that the NJTPA work with its counterparts at the New Jersey Department of Transportation to find the resources to help advance this proposal.  I look forward to your reply, and to track the progress of this meritorious project. If you have any questions, or I can be helpful in any way, please do not hesitate to let me know.

Thank you for your consideration of this request.


                                                              Sincerely,


                                                            Bill Pascrell, Jr.
                                                            Member of Congress

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