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March 19, 2020 12:30 PM, EDT

New Jersey DOT Awards $30.1 Million for Local Freight Routes

Trucks at a New Jersey weigh stationTrucks at a New Jersey weigh station. This round of grants represents 10 municipalities and six counties in the state. (Mel Evans/Associated Press)

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The New Jersey Department of Transportation announced that $30.1 million has been awarded to counties and municipalities for projects meant to help facilitate large-truck traffic.

The 17 grants, announced March 18, were made possible through the Local Freight Impact Fund program.

“These Local Freight Impact Fund grants allow counties and municipalities to make critical improvements to truck routes that are essential to keeping our regional economy thriving,” NJDOT Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti said. “New Jersey roads and bridges carry a tremendous amount of commercial truck traffic every day, and we are using funds generated through the gas tax to make sure our infrastructure can handle the load.”

Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti

Gutierrez-Scaccetti

The grants represent 10 municipalities and six counties (one county received two grants). NJDOT received 45 applications requesting about $73.3 million during this round of funding.

The grants represent four project categories: pavement preservation, truck safety and mobility, bridge preservation and new construction. The program is designed to help New Jersey towns and counties fund projects that facilitate the safe movement of large-truck traffic, renew aging structures that bear heavy trucks, promote economic development and bolster new transportation opportunities.

New Jersey received a D+ on the American Society of Civil Engineers’ most recent infrastructure report card, which was issued in 2016.

Middlesex County, located in the center of the state, received two truck safety and mobility grants, each for $4 million. One grant will support improvements to roads in Edison Township, and the other will aid the Cranbury Road corridor in East Brunswick.

Another $4 million grant will support pavement preservation work on a truck route at the Port of Camden, which is located in southern New Jersey across the Delaware River from downtown Philadelphia.

The final $4 million grant will help with the construction of a truck bypass road that will divert traffic from state Route 44 in Gloucester County and improve access to an industrial plant under redevelopment. Gloucester County is immediately south of Camden County.

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One grant, for $3 million, will improve truck routes in Carteret, a borough located across the Arthur Kill strait from Staten Island. Some $1.2 million will fund resurfacing efforts on Reeves Road in Cumberland County, which is located in southern New Jersey on the Delaware Bay. The city of Bayonne received a $1.4 million grant to improve pavement on New Hook Road. Bayonne, just a few miles from the Statue of Liberty, is home to a cruise ship terminal.

The Local Freight Impact Fund program, distributed by NJDOT’s Local Aid and Economic Development division, was created in 2016 as part of the Transportation Trust Fund reauthorization. The previous round of grants, also totaling $30.1 million, was announced in July 2019.

Agency officials assess potential projects on the basis of existing conditions, traffic volume, crash frequency and connectivity to freight nodes.

NJDOT’s recent freight-related grants extend to rail, too. The agency announced March 20 that 13 grants totaling $28.8 million have been made available through the Rail Freight Assistance Program. The program, which bolsters preservation and rehabilitation efforts on the state’s freight rail network, is meant to support clean energy and reduce congestion on roadways. 

The 13 projects selected for funding, which represent 12 counties, will involve constructing new sidetracks to help during loading periods, upgrading existing railroad tracks, installing new switches and repairing bridges and culverts. 

“The projects funded through the Rail Freight Assistance Program provide businesses with options on how to ship goods,” Gutierrez-Scaccetti said.

 

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