Upgrade plan for New Jersey Turnpike extension leading to Holland Tunnel under fire

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Tuesday, July 9, 2024
Rally in Jersey City against plans to extend New Jersey Turnpike
Toni Yates has the details on those for and against the plans to extend the New Jersey Turnpike

JERSEY CITY, New Jersey (WABC) -- Upgrade plans for the Newark Bay-Hudson County Extension of the New Jersey Turnpike are drawing fire from elected officials and community members in Jersey City.

Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop and several city council members joined community members at a rally Tuesday evening ahead of a public meeting hosted by the NJ Turnpike Commission.

Opponents say the agency's $10.7 billion plan to replace both the bridges over Newark Bay and the highway carrying traffic to the Holland Tunnel entrance in downtown Jersey City is flawed.

They say the current environmental assessment fails to consider the cumulative impact the years-long, 8.1-mile project will have on surrounding communities in Newark, Bayonne and particularly Jersey City.

"This was originally positioned as a way to move more personal vehicles towards the Holland Tunnel. And we said, 'it's not going to solve the problem if you still have the Holland Tunnel,'" Fulop said.

Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis says expanding the highway and replacing several bridges, especially the crumbling Newark Bay Bridge, is essential.

"There's no question about that. That bridge has to be replaced. So, let's not do the normal government thing and build the same bridge that can't handle the weight and traffic it has now," Mayor Davis said.

They say the plan also fails to invest in alternatives that would reconnect and restore communities.

Fulop and Jersey City Council members are calling on the U.S. Coast Guard to require the Turnpike Commission prepare a full environmental impact statement on the project.

Turnpike officials say the project, the first phase of which will replace the aging bridges over Newark Bay, is needed because the bridges have all significant structural problems and are at the end of their lives.

Construction on Phase 1 is expected to begin in 2026.

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