Why is this bridge study necessary?

Constructed in 1908, the Central Avenue Bridge is over 100 years old and has structural and functional limitations that don't meet today's design standards.  Due to its age, the bridge has deteriorated over time and routine maintenance can no longer address the deficiencies.

Age, deterioration, and increased traffic volume and loads (weight of vehicles) are some of the reasons why this bridge no longer operates well and is in need of major rehabilitation or replacement.


What is the existing condition of the bridge?

The bridge was built in 1908 and is beyond its serviceable life at over 100 years old.  The bridge is in poor physical condition and serious overall condition due to its low inventory ratings (low carrying capacity). The bridge requires a routine inspection every two years with an interim inspection every twelve months due to the low inventory rating and the condition of the superstructure. The bridge is currently safe to travel on, however without significant on-going structural maintenance, the bridge could require more restrictive load posting (further restrictions on the type and weight of vehicles allowed to use the bridge) due to its advancing deterioration.  The structure is currently load posted for 10 tons. Further deterioration of the structure may require a lower load posting. The deck is in fair condition (5 out of 10) due to several spalls on the underside of the deck with exposed reinforcing bars. The superstructure is in poor condition (4 out of 10) due to holes in several truss members, floorbeams and girders.  There are cracks with differential settlement up to 1” on the approach sidewalks.


What is an LCD Study?

A Local Concept Development (LCD) Study is the first phase of the Local Project Delivery Process for transportation improvements.  During this phase a Purpose and Need Statement will be developed focusing on the need to address structural and operational deficiencies of the bridge. The LCD Phase also includes data collection, coordination with local municipal officials, community stakeholders, and Federal and State permitting agencies; the development of a reasonable number of sensible and practical conceptual alternatives; and the recommendation of a Preliminary Preferred Alternative (PPA).


What is the schedule for the Central Avenue Bridge LCD Study?

LCD Project Schedule (Major Milestones)

Develop Project Purpose and Need Statement Winter 2017
Development of Conceptual Alternatives Spring/Summer 2017
Recommendation of a Preliminary Preferred Alternative Fall 2017
Submission of Draft Concept Development Report Winter 2018
Completion of Local Concept Development Phase Spring 2018  

What kind of a bridge is the existing Central Avenue Bridge?

The existing Central Avenue Bridge is a four span truss structure, as follows:

  • Bridge spans over the Newark City Subway within the City of Newark.
  • Year Built: 1908.
  • Bridge type: four span, Riveted Steel Pony Truss with Steel Riveted Floorbeams, Girders, and Concrete Encased Stringers.
  • Overall length: 118 feet.
  • Bridge roadway width: 47 feet.
  • Bridge vertical clearance over railroad: 15 feet.
  • Bridge total width: 78 feet.


What is the existing condition of the bridge?

       The Study findings to date have revealed the following:

  • Bridge is structurally deficient (poor condition), functionally obsolete (substandard geometry), and nearing the end of its service life.
  • Sufficiency Rating = 32.0 (out of 100).
  • Superstructure is in poor condition: holes in several truss members, floorbeams and girders; a substantial material loss to the horizontal angle leg edge and a crack extending from a large hole in the vertical angle leg; several floorbeams exhibit moderate to heavy laminar rust to the top and bottom flanges; concrete encasement at the stringers exhibits medium to wide random cracks with water and efflorescence stains throughout.
  • Substructure is in fair condition: missing mortar at several joints in masonry abutments; large spalls with exposed and severely rusted reinforcing steel in concrete pedestals at abutments; several medium to wide random cracks in the abutments, pedestals, & pier columns.
  • Deck is in fair condition: spalls on the underside of deck; numerous small to large spalls; areas of delaminated concrete; fine to medium cracks with efflorescence on the underside; large hole with exposed rebar in Span 1 at the east sidewalk which is covered partially with a steel plate; there is an 8” by 18” uncovered hole adjacent to the steel plate; moderate to heavy scaling on sidewalks; several areas of uneven asphalt and wide to medium random cracks partially sealed.


How will the project benefit pedestrians and bicyclists?

As part of the Study, the project team is asking for input from the local officials and community stakeholders to understand what pedestrian and bicycle mobility and access is needed.  As part of the LCD Study phase, when developing the project Purpose and Need for improvements, all modes of transportation are taken into consideration regarding the bridge, including: pedestrians, cyclists, transit, and vehicular uses.


Have the project's improvements been decided?

No, the reason for this Study is to identify what are the current transportation issues and needs regarding the Central Avenue Bridge, and to develop the Purpose and Need for bridge improvements.  The project is currently in the Local Concept Development (LCD) phase to identify the needs, develop conceptual alternatives, and recommend a Preliminary Preferred Alternative (PPA) for bridge improvements. A Resolution of Support from the local officials is required. The Project Team will also coordinate with regulatory agencies before advancing the project to design and construction.  The City of Newark and cooperating agencies will continue to seek community input on the design and proposed transportation improvements during the LCD phase and future phases of the project.


How much will it cost and who will pay for it?

The cost of implementing the Preliminary Preferred Alternative (PPA) will be estimated as part of the Local Concept Development (LCD) Study, and will qualify to be funded with Federal dollars if it meets the Federal requirements.


How will the project affect the environment?

As part of the Local Concept Development (LCD) Process, an environmental screening is performed.  The environmental screening identifies the issues, concerns, and potential “fatal flaws” related to the social, economic, and environmental resources that will aid in establishing impacts for the various alternatives.  The screening includes a review of the potential impacts to air/noise receptors, ecological constraints, cultural resources, publicly owned parks and recreation areas, wildlife or waterfowl refuges, hazardous materials (known contaminated sites), socioeconomics, and environmental justice.

At this stage in the project, the environmental screening has been prepared and reviewed by the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) Bureau of Environmental Program Resources (BEPR).  Once finalized, the results of the screening will be made available on the Project Website. Once conceptual alternatives are developed, each alternative will be evaluated for its potential impacts to the environment, which will be a consideration in the recommendation of the Preliminary Preferred Alternative (PPA).


Will construction impact the NJ Transit Subway? Will there be detours? Will there be lane closures? How will pedestrian access be impacted? How much noise will be created by this project?

At this time the PPA for the bridge improvements has not been identified, therefore the impacts are not known.  As the study progresses and more is known, the impacts and mitigation measures for the surrounding area will be identified.


Where is the Central Avenue Bridge?

The Central Avenue Bridge is located on Central Avenue between Duryea Street and Jay Street in Newark, NJ.  The Central Avenue Bridge is at grade with Central Avenue and passes over the City Subway.


Why get involved?

The primary tasks of stakeholder coordination and engaging public opinion is to assist in the development of the project Purpose and Need Statement, provide input into the Goals and Objectives of the bridge improvement project, and review and provide comments regarding the recommendation of the Preliminary Preferred Alternative (PPA) based on the Project Purpose and Need.

The project team is very interested in knowing how the local community uses the bridge, any current approach roadway concerns, and how the public sees possible conceptual alternative solutions.  Community Outreach during the Study is a vital part of the Local Concept Development (LCD) process and we encourage the community to participate.


Why attend the public meetings?

Attendance at public meetings is good way to make your voice heard and to ensure a successful project the meets the community’s needs and aspirations. If you are unable to attend a meeting, you can keep tabs on new project developments by visiting the Project Website and reviewing the meeting summary reports, and PowerPoint presentations.  Naturally, coming out to the meeting is the best way to stay involved, provide input, and have your answers, first hand, with the project team present.  However, if you still have questions, we’ve made it easy for you to reach your City official directly by using the online contact form.


How can I stay informed or offer suggestions?

The City of Newark, County of Essex and the cooperating agencies of NJTPA and NJDOT, are committed to developing transportation improvements that best balance transportation needs, the environment, community concerns and cost.  As part of the Community Outreach effort, numerous meetings will be held to share project information and obtain input.


What if I have other questions or concerns about the project?

The City of Newark, County of Essex and the cooperating agencies of NJTPA and NJDOT, encourages community members to voice their concerns and contribute suggestions to the Project Team.  To provide input, attend one of the public meetings or contact:

Contact Information

Kimberly Singleton
City of Newark Project Manager
City of Newark
Department of Engineering
Division of Traffic and Signals
255 Central Avenue
Newark, NJ 07103


Phillip Scott, P.E., CME
Department of Engineering Director

Juan L. Feijoo
City of Newark Principal Engineer