Bayonne Ground-Breaking Ceremony Held for 8th Street Light Rail Extension

Project to extend Hudson-Bergen Light Rail service farther into a new station at 8th Street in Bayonne.

 

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Light Rail Ground-Breaking: At 8th Street in Bayonne, NJ Transit leaders and several federal, state, county, and municipal officials took part in a ceremony that marked the start of construction of the latest Light Rail extension. During the next two years, the Light Rail tracks will be extended southward from 22nd Street to 8th Street.  A viaduct will be built to carry the rail line from 11th Street to 8th Street.  A new station will be built at 8th Street and Avenue C.  Completion of the project is expected in 2010.  (Photo credit: Kimberly Lewis. )

On October 15, U.S. Senator Robert Menendez and Congressman Albio Sires
joined NJ Transit Executive Director Richard Sarles and Bayonne Mayor Terrence Malloy to break ground on a project to extend Hudson-Bergen Light Rail service farther into a new station at 8th Street.

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    At the ceremony, Malloy pointed out that the new 8th Street station will be only one block from the downtown shopping district.  By extending the Light Rail to 8th Street, Malloy said, NJ Transit would be uniting Bayonne with the rest of the waterfront communities.  He predicted an “economic
renaissance” for Bayonne.
    In a statement before the ceremony, U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg said,
“With New Jerseyans forced to deal with congestion and high gas prices, we
need options that get cars off the road and help people spend less time in
traffic.”  He continued, “By securing more than a billion dollars in federal
funding for this light rail line along our Hudson Waterfront, we are making
rail available to more commuters in our state – and improving our quality of life.”
    Speaking at 8th Street, U.S. Senator Robert Menendez recalled when the
Light Rail system was “simply a vision” and not yet a reality.  He credited
Congressman Sires for his support of mass transit in the House of
Representatives.  Menendez also thanked New Jersey Transit for building the Light Rail “on time and on budget.”  Citing a Rutgers University study,
Menendez said that the Light Rail system had led to the construction of
10,000 housing units and the creation of “walkable communities.”  Overall,
Menendez praised the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail for producing jobs, easier
commutes, and cleaner air.  He called for extending the train line to the
Meadowlands.
    Congressman Albio Sires thanked Menendez for supporting mass transit during his years on the Transportation Committee in the House of Representatives.
Sires said he was looking for additional mass transit benefits for this
area, and had brought Chairman Jim Oberstar of the House Transportation
Committee to Hudson County to show him local transit needs.  Before the
Light Rail system was planned, Sires said, an earlier transportation concept
for the region was a bus line.  He observed that this area is really “fit
for a train” instead.  Sires endorsed the idea of a Light Rail link from
Hudson County to the Meadowlands.
    State Senator Sandra Cunningham called the 8th Street extension “a
wonderful addition to Bayonne” that allows for easier commutes to New York City and Jersey City.  She applauded the concept of building a new 8th
Street station that would be modeled after the old one.
    Assemblyman and Council Member At-Large Anthony Chiappone recalled passing the old 8th Street station when he walked to grammar school.  He predicted that the 8th Street rail line would “enhance property values.”  Chaippone thanked the federal and state governments for supporting the construction of the Light Rail system.
    Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise recalled Bayonne’s “wonderful past,” and said that “investments like this [Light Rail] ensure a great future.” Citing the population growth of cities, DeGise advocated mass transit systems that “put people where jobs are.” He thanked Menendez and Sires for their help with transit issues. DeGise said, “The only thing better than a
ground-breaking is a ribbon-cutting.”
    In April 2008, the NJ Transit Board of Directors awarded a $58.4 million
contract to George Harms Construction, Inc. of Howell, NJ, for work to
extend the rail line one mile from its current southern terminus at 22nd
Street.  The project includes the design and construction of foundations
viaduct structure, track work, intersection improvements, a new station
building, landscaping, lighting, and customer amenities.
    From the elevated 22nd Street station, the light rail tracks will be
extended south, hugging the existing Conrail right-of-way along Avenue E. 

A viaduct will carry light rail vehicles over local streets to an elevated
platform at the new 8th Street Station, which will feature an elevator and
stairs between street and platform levels.
    As a result of community meetings, the station will be located at Avenue C
and 8th Street, with architecture reminiscent of the old Central Railroad of
New Jersey station that once stood near the site.
    The project is expected to be completed in 2010.  Once open, 8th Street
will be the 24th Hudson-Bergen Light Rail station.

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