About the Project

About the Project

The City of Newark is advancing the design for the replacement of the Central Avenue Bridge over the City Subway in the City of Newark. The replacement of the bridge will improve its structural, geometric and operational deficiencies, enhance safety and provide efficient crossing for all modes of transportation on Central Avenue, including the NJ Transit light rail service below the roadway.

The Newark City subway passes beneath the Central Avenue Bridge in the City of Newark, New Jersey. The bridge spans across the subway, which serves as a major transit connection to Newark’s Central Business District (CBD), University Heights and the regional transportation hubs of Newark Penn Station and Broad Street Station. Similarly, the roadway portion of Central Avenue is a primary arterial and County Road (CR 508) serving as a major east-west route connecting commuters and city residents with Interstate 280, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), Rutgers University and Newark’s CBD.

Project Background

The Central Avenue Bridge (Structure No. 0700-N06) is experiencing a number of simultaneous and pressing safety concerns due to degraded and obsolete infrastructure. The most recent Bridge Re-Evaluation Report identified a number of safety concerns related to the deck, superstructure and substructure of the bridge. In total, the report rated the Central Avenue Bridge condition as serious with the overall physical condition of the bridge as poor due to the superstructure, and the bridge is functionally obsolete due to its inadequate under clearance.

A Local Concept Development (LCD) Study for major rehabilitation or replacement of the bridge was completed in Spring 2018. During the Study, a Purpose and Need Statement was developed, focusing on the need to improve safety and maintain a crossing over the City Subway along Central Avenue. A number of conceptual alternatives were developed to meet the project goals and objectives. Upon completion of an alternatives analysis, the recommended Preliminary Preferred Alternative (PPA) to address the deficiencies was to replace the bridge with a new structure. Resolutions of support were passed by the City of Newark and Essex County Board of County Commissioners (formerly referred to as County Freeholders), and a letter of support was provided by NJ TRANSIT.

Local Preliminary Engineering Phase

The project is now in the Local Preliminary Engineering (LPE) phase, which began in Summer 2023. The LPE phase involves performing engineering and environmental tasks and documentation in order to obtain National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) clearance for the project. Based on the PPA, a number of activities are simultaneously underway: design level mapping, engineering studies, environmental documentation, agency consultation, and community involvement. As part of this phase, there will be a community stakeholder meeting and a public information center meeting to share project information and obtain input.

The tasks conducted during the LPE Phase consist of, but are not limited to:

  • Technical environmental studies (including Section 106 and Section 4(f) Evaluation)
  • NEPA Document (Categorical Exclusion)
  • Development of design level base plans
  • Utility discovery and verification
  • Preliminary drainage design
  • Hydraulic and hydrologic studies
  • Structural studies that document the structural selection process and the recommended structure and aesthetic treatments
  • Access impact evaluation
  • Development of property easement cost estimates and project cost estimates

Local Preliminary Engineering Phase – Anticipated Project Schedule (Major Milestones)

Approved Environmental Documentation Summer 2024
Approved Local Preliminary Engineering Report & Completion of LPE Phase Fall 2024

Local Preliminary Engineering Phase – Anticipated Community Involvement Schedule

Local Officials Meeting No. 1 Early 2024
Local Officials Meeting No. 2 Spring 2024
Community Stakeholders Meeting Early 2024
Public Information Center Meeting Spring 2024