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Replacing 112-Year-Old Bridge Will Provide Reliability and Resiliency for North Jersey Coast Line Customers

May 13, 2020

NEWARK, NJ -- The NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors today approved a contract with George Harms Construction of Farmingdale, NJ for the initial construction phase of the Raritan River Bridge replacement project. The approximately $250 million contract is part of NJ TRANSIT’s Resilience Program initiated following Hurricane Sandy to make its transit systems and infrastructure stronger and more reliable for its customers.

“We continue to make strategic resiliency investments in our infrastructure to ensure the long-term viability of the transportation system,’’ said NJ TRANSIT President & CEO Kevin Corbett. “The Raritan River Bridge replacement contract awarded today is a great step forward in ensuring our North Jersey Coast Line customers have robust and sustainable rail service that will better withstand the effects of extreme weather, while meeting the current and future transportation needs of our customers for so many decades to come.’’

The existing bridge, known as River Draw, sustained significant damage during Superstorm Sandy, and required emergency repair before being put back in service. Built in 1908, River Draw is the sole rail link for 17 of the 20 stations on the North Jersey Coast Line between popular Jersey Shore recreation destinations and the major employment centers of Newark, Jersey City, and Manhattan. The NJCL provides service to approximately 11,400 daily customers making approximately 22,800 Average Weekday Passenger Trips and accommodates Conrail freight rail services. During construction, NJ TRANSIT will keep the existing bridge in service to ensure minimal service disruption.

The work included in the contract awarded to George Harms Construction today includes bridge approach spans, lift bridge and flanking spans piers, and associated land work. The next portion of the project, to be awarded in the future, would include construction of the lift bridge and flanking spans superstructure, communications, signal and overhead catenary work. The final portion will be the demolition of the existing River Draw bridge following the new bridge entering into service.

The Raritan River Bridge Replacement Project advances as a result of a grant awarded by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) through FTA’s Emergency Relief Program for resilience projects in response to Superstorm Sandy. FTA funding for this project totals $446,312,465, of which $247,945,055.49 is allocated to today’s contract award. The total project cost for all three phases is estimated at $595 million.

The onetime total economic impact of the Raritan River Bridge Replacement project for the New Jersey economy will be $1.0 billion including the direct, indirect and induced economic impacts, supporting 5,740 jobs and $352.5 million in earnings according to studies by Rutgers’ Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation (CAIT).


NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing more than 925,000 weekday trips on 253 bus routes, three light rail lines, 12 commuter rail lines and through Access Link paratransit service. It is the third largest transit system in the country with 166 rail stations, 62 light rail stations and more than 19,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.