Lettiere, Lautenberg cut ribbon on
final phase of Route 21 Viaduct Project
(Newark) - State Transportation Commissioner Jack Lettiere and United States Senator Frank Lautenberg, joined by other state and local officials, today officially cut the ribbon on the Broad Street flyover – the last crucial ramp of the third and final phase of a federal and state funded $253 million Route 21 Viaduct project in Newark.
“This project is the culmination of many years of hard work and cooperation by federal, state and local officials and community and business leaders,” said Lettiere. “Making good on Governor McGreevey’s promise to improve the quality of life for New Jersey’s commuters, this project meets the demand for congestion relief and increases operational safety along the corridor.”
The $105 million Phase III project, the last to replace the old, structurally deficient Route 21 Viaduct, broke ground in August 2000. Work involved the construction of the northern and southern ends of the new 5,800 foot Route 21 Viaduct including new connection ramps at the south end with Routes 22, 1/9 and I-78; construction of new Broad Street and Miller Street ramps at the north end; and demolition of the old viaduct.
Phase I of the project was completed in April 1998 and included the construction of two new Route 21 bridge piers and the widening of two I-78 Viaduct piers on the north side of the Northeast Corridor. Phase II was completed in November 2000 and included the construction of the new Route 21 Viaduct from the Northeast Corridor to I-78 and the widening/construction of connection ramps to I-78.
"New Jersey is the most densely populated State in the country and, while we're twice as dependent on mass transit as the average State, we still rely heavily on our roads to get people and goods from place to place,” said Lautenberg. "Route 21 will quickly become an important north-south artery, providing people with better access to downtown Clifton, downtown Passaic, and the Airport. It will also make it easier for people to get to Newark Penn Station, New Jersey Transit, and Amtrak, and to the New Jersey Turnpike. And it will make it easier for me to attend my high school reunions in Nutley."
The Route 21 Viaduct provides a vital highway link between the City of Newark, the Newark International Airport and other parts of northeastern New Jersey via Interstate Route I-78 and Routes US 1 & 9, and US 22. In addition to its vital location, the viaduct carries a heavy traffic volume. In 1992, it carried 73,400 vehicles per day with a relatively high 13% truck traffic. The traffic volume is projected to exceed 109,000 vehicles per day by year of 2015.
“The opening of the Broad Street flyover section of the Route 21 viaduct marks another milestone of upgrading an important thoroughfare that provides access to one of Essex County’s busiest areas,” said Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. “This improvement will make traveling easier, quicker and more convenient for commuters, should stimulate the local economy and make culture and arts programs in the city more accessible. I commend the Governor and the State Department of Transportation for undertaking this project and look forward to future progress.”