Officials break ground on new Tonnelle Avenue Bridge, in next step for Gateway Tunnel project
A groundbreaking took place in North Bergen on Thursday to build a new Tonnelle Avenue bridge. That bridge needs to be rebuilt to allow for the construction of two new rail tunnels that will run directly underneath it between New Jersey and New York.
The bridge construction is another major part of the massive $16-billion Gateway Tunnel Project. The bridge along busy Tonnelle Avenue will be rebuilt by 2025. The work will then begin on digging into the ground to create two new tunnels, each four and a half miles long.
Both tunnels are desperately needed to replace the 112-year-old tunnels that are currently used by commuters riding on New Jersey Transit and Amtrak trains. Along with providing 70,000 jobs, the creation of these new tunnels will also improve commute times for those who work across the Hudson River in New York City.
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Deputy Transportation Secretary Polly Trottenberg was at the groundbreaking.
“After so many years, even decades, of talking about the new rail tunnel under the Hudson, our collective vision is being realized,” she said.
Kris Kolluri is the CEO of the Gateway Development Commission.
“These tunnels are more than portals of concrete and rebar, they’re portals of opportunity,” Kolluri said.
Gov. Phil Murphy has gotten a lot of credit for reviving this project, which was halted by then-Gov. Chris Christie in 2010.
“This is a game-changer for sure,” Murphy said. “Twenty percent of the nation's economy flows on these rails.”
He went on to say, “In partnership with Gov. [Kathy] Hochul and President [Joe] Biden, we are correcting the mistake of the past to build a brighter more prosperous future for every family.”
The tunnels will be completed in 2035. Once they are operational, the existing tunnels will be rehabilitated and then put back online for trains, creating four tunnels in all.