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Three-Year Project Will Create Jobs, Make Rt. 3 Safer, More Serviceable

(36TH DISTRICT) — Assemblymen Fred Scalera and Gary S. Schaer Wednesday hailed the start of construction on a replacement for the 61-year old Route 3 bridge over the Passaic River by the state Department of Transportation (DOT) as good for drivers, good for safety and good for the local economy.

“Anybody who’s driven along this stretch of Rt. 3 at almost any time of the day could tell you that the bridge isn’t safe, can’t handle the traffic and needs replacing,” said Scalera (D-Essex). “That the DOT has begun replacing this chokepoint should bring a smile to the faces of commuters and employers alike.”

The current span, a drawbridge constructed in 1949, is used daily by approximately 142,000 motor vehicles to access the Lincoln Tunnel, the Garden State Parkway and routes 17, 46 and 21. However, due to nonstandard and substandard shoulders and entrance and exit ramps, and the fact that the roadway must open to allow for the passage of aquatic vessels, the crossing is plagued by congestion and accidents and is rated by the DOT as the most congested freeway section in the entire state.

The $149 project will not only replace the existing bridge with a fixed span, it includes shoulder upgrades, the creation of 15 new acceleration and deceleration lanes and the construction of noise barriers in Rutherford, Lyndhurst and Clifton. The project is scheduled for completion in 2013.

“This will help boost the local economy in the short term by providing needed jobs in the engineering and construction trades,” said Schaer (D-Passaic). “And, by improving the safety and accessibility of the span, it will help foster the long-term economic growth of the various communities the bridge connects.”