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news release

P.O. Box 600
Trenton, NJ
Contact: Steve Schapiro
RELEASE: May 30, 2014


Route 46 bridge over the Hackensack River to be rehabilitated and the Little Ferry Circle eliminated

Motorists encouraged to seek alternate routes during construction

(Trenton) New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) officials today announced the start of major construction in connection with a project to replace the Route 46 bridge over the Hackensack River and eliminate the Little Ferry Circle in Bergen County.
At 9 p.m. tonight, Friday May 30, NJDOT’s contractor, Conti Enterprises, is scheduled to set up the initial construction zone, requiring the long-term closure of the westbound lanes. The bridge deck replacement work, which is expected to affect traffic for approximately 18 months, will be accomplished in two stages – with one side of the bridge closed at a time, starting with the westbound lanes.

This work will reduce Route 46 from two travel lanes in each direction to one travel lane in each direction throughout construction. Once the westbound lanes are reconstructed, traffic will be shifted onto the newly built roadway and the eastbound lanes will be closed for rehabilitation.

  • Motorists should expect significant delays, particularly in the westbound direction, and are encouraged to seek alternate routes, including using Route 80, which is one mile north of the Little Ferry Circle, or Route 4, which is three miles north of the circle.
  • NJDOT will utilize multiple dynamic message signs with real-time travel information on Route 46, Interstate 80 and NJ Turnpike (Interstate 95) to alert motorists to traffic impacts that will help them adjust their trips.

Project Details

The $33.8 million project has three elements—rehabilitating the structurally deficient bridge, converting the circle into a conventional four-way intersection, and the installation of a new drainage system and pump station to reduce flooding in the area.

The Route 46 bridge is a 17-span structure with a double leaf metal grate bascule span (moveable bridge) that carries two travel lanes in each direction with no shoulders over the Hackensack River and the CSX and NYS&W Railroads. It was completed in 1934 and is both structurally deficient, meaning the deck, superstructure and substructure are in poor condition, and functionally obsolete, which means it does not conform to current design standards.

In addition to replacing the existing bridge deck, sidewalk and concrete balustrade railing across the entire bridge will be replaced, and existing safety features including bridge parapets will be upgraded, including the addition of steel guide rail to protect pedestrians.

As part of the reconstruction, the metal grate bascule portion of the deck will be replaced with concrete decking, permanently locking the bridge in the closed position and providing a smoother riding surface for motorists for at least another 20 years.

This project also will address flooding problems and traffic accidents within the immediate area of the Little Ferry Circle, along Route 46 from Frederick Street to the western approach of the bridge over the Hackensack River. The circle will be eliminated and replaced with a traditional four-way intersection where Route 46 and Bergen Turnpike intersect just west of the bridge. The work includes the construction of a storm water pumping station and upgraded drainage to address flooding problems.

route 46 photo
Eroded concrete at bridge joint

route 46 photo
Exposed rebar and concrete spalling underneath the sidewalk

Little Ferry Circle Elimination

Utility and drainage work began in March in preparation for the elimination of the Little Ferry Circle, which is being converted to a traditional four-way intersection where Route 46 and Bergen Turnpike meet just west of the bridge.

Next Friday, June 6, the contractor is expected to close Little Ferry Circle and open the four-way intersection. The two signals on Route 46 where it meets the circle will be removed and replaced with a single signal at the newly created intersection.

Once the intersection is opened, no left turns from Route 46 onto Bergen Turnpike will be allowed while bridge construction is ongoing. Upon completion of the bridge work, left turns will be allowed from Route 46 onto Bergen Turnpike. The following detours will be in place during construction:

  • Route 46 eastbound to Bergen Turnpike northbound
    Motorists on Route 46 eastbound will continue across the bridge and take the first exit onto Main Street to the Main Street Bypass, underneath Route 46, back onto Main Street to Route 46 westbound to Bergen Turnpike northbound.
  • Route 46 westbound to Bergen Turnpike southbound
    Motorists on Route 46 westbound will turn right onto Bergen Turnpike northbound, take the first right and do a u-turn at the light onto Bergen Turnpike southbound.

NJDOT looked at numerous alternatives during design, including maintaining three lanes with one lane alternating to provide two lanes in the peak direction, before ultimately moving forward with the staged replacement of the deck providing one lane in each direction. This option provides the shortest construction time and greatest work flexibility. The project has been coordinated with local officials and emergency response agencies and is expected to be complete in the spring of 2016.

The precise timing of the work is subject to change due to weather or other factors. Motorists are encouraged to check NJDOT’s traffic information website www.511nj.org for real-time travel information.

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  Department of Transportation
  P.O. Box 600
  Trenton, NJ 08625-0600
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  Last Updated:  June 2, 2014