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Franklin Avenue Bridge Carries Bergen County and Main Line Trains

CONTACT: Michael Klufas (973-491-7078)

NEWARK, NJ, July 11, 2001 -- For 85 years, the railroad bridge over Franklin Avenue in Ridgewood -- adjacent to Ridgewood Station -- has carried trains of four different railroad companies. But after many years of service, the bridge requires a complete rehabilitation -- a project on which its current owner, NJ TRANSIT, will soon embark thanks to action taken today by the Corporation's Board.

The Board approved a $1.82 million contract with H&G Contractors of Ridgewood to rehabilitate the Franklin Avenue Bridge. H&G will waterproof the bridge, remove deteriorated concrete and restore historic concrete elements.

"NJ TRANSIT wants to be a good neighbor to Ridgewood by acting on concerns about pieces of concrete falling from the Franklin Avenue bridge, as well as its general appearance," said NJ TRANSIT Board Chairman and State Transportation Commissioner James Weinstein. "By this time next year, the residents of Ridgewood and NJ TRANSIT will have a bridge that is visually pleasing and structurally improved."

"Eighty-five years of service is a long time, especially for a bridge that has carried hundreds of thousands of trains," said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director Jeffrey A. Warsh. "The Franklin Avenue Bridge carries much of NJ TRANSIT's rail service in Bergen County and New York State. Maintaining this bridge is critical to retaining current levels of service on the Main and Bergen County lines as well as preparing these lines for increased service that will be required by the opening of Secaucus Transfer."

The Franklin Avenue Bridge was constructed in 1916 as part of a grade separation project. Over the years, moisture has seeped through the bridge's concrete and steel superstructure, causing pieces of concrete on the bridge's underside and sides to break away from steel girders and fall onto the street below. Recently, much of the concrete from underneath the bridge and other areas was removed to eliminate the problem of falling concrete. The rehabilitation will restore concrete to the bridge's underside as well as decorative elements on its sides.

The project also includes replacement of the concrete pedestrian walkway, which customers use to reach platforms of adjacent Ridgewood Station. Work will be done during night and weekend hours, when automobile and rail traffic is lighter. One track will be taken out of service as necessary during construction, but service impacts are expected to be minimal. The entire bridge rehabilitation is scheduled for completion in mid-2002.

The Franklin Avenue Bridge is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historical Places. Ridgewood Station was listed on the register in 1984. The rail station and bridge were included in Ridgewoods historic downtown district, which was created by the Village Council in 1994.

NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing bus, rail and light rail services for 383,900 daily commuters on 240 bus routes, two light rail lines and 12 commuter rail lines. It is the third largest transit system in the country with 162 rail stations, 26 light rail stations and more than 17,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.