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North Tube Liner to be Removed

CONTACT: Michael Klufas (973-491-7078)

NEWARK, NJ, August 10, 2001 -- NJ TRANSIT's reconstruction of the Bergen Tunnel’s 125-year-old north tube will reach a new milestone next week when work to remove the brick liner begins.

Beginning August 15, crews will use backhoes to remove the bricks and concrete currently lining the tunnel's wall and ceiling. In several locations, blasting will be necessary to remove additional rock and brick debris to create the space needed to support the tunnel’s new walls. These blasts will take place during weekday midday hours only and are expected to have minimal impacts on Jersey City residents.

"We are working proactively with Jersey City and with our customers to minimize disruptions related to Bergen Tunnel construction work," said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director Jeffrey A. Warsh. "Just as we have been diligent in keeping commuters updated on construction progress, so we will also make sure to inform those living near and above the tunnel of work that may affect them."

NJ TRANSIT is providing residents and businesses near the tunnel with an update of the latest tunnel construction plans. Working with Jersey City Mayor Glenn Cunningham's office, the Corporation is mailing approximately 5,000 notices in both English and Spanish. Residents can also call NJ TRANSIT's Customer Service Office with questions about the project. The numbers are 1-800-772-3606, or 973-491-9400 from out-of-state.

Merco-Obayashi, the contractor responsible for Bergen Tunnel north tube rehabilitation, will perform two blasts inside the tunnel each weekday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. No blasting will occur on weekends and holidays. The blasting work is expected to be completed by October 15.

When work is complete, the Bergen Tunnel’s north tube will have: waterproofed ceilings and walls; new electrical, signal and ventilation systems; new emergency exits; a new concrete floor; and new tracks affixed directly to the concrete floor. The rehabilitation project will improve tunnel reliability safety standards. The north tube opened in 1877 and has never been fully rehabilitated. The Bergen Tunnel's south tube, which opened in 1908, will be rehabilitated at a later date.

NJ TRANSIT is the nation’s largest statewide public transportation system providing bus, rail and light rail services for 373,500 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.