New Jersey’s waterways are crossed by scores of railroad bridges, many of them used by freight trains carrying chemicals or oil. Some of the bridges are awaiting replacement or repairs delayed by the impasse in Trenton over renewing the Transportation Trust Fund.
NJTV, an NJ Spotlight news partner, inspected four bridges in the area north of Newark, one over the Hackensack, one over the Passaic, and two crossing Overpeck Creek. All four appeared to be in bad condition, and one, the New York, Susquehanna and Western Railroad bridge on Overpeck Creek, is scheduled to be replaced – when the money is available.
Capt. Hugh Carola, program director for the Hackensack Riverkeeper, said bridges like the Draw of the Hack and the Point-No-Point Bridge on the Passaic are crossed by 15 trains a week carrying crude oil, an exceptionally heavy cargo that can cause compression damage. The bridges are also in areas where the rivers are tidal, with salt water corroding underwater supports. Both are owned by Conrail, which is responsible for their maintenance.
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