Amtrak Portal Bridge

Tom Kaminski/WCBS 880

Coast Guard To Introduce New Marine Traffic Restrictions To Help NJ Transit

March 15, 2019 - 12:55 pm

SECAUCUS, N.J. (WCBS 880) — The Coast Guard is planning to restrict marine traffic on the Hackensack River in order to prevent the century-old Portal Bridge from opening during rush hours.

New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez made the announcement Friday, saying it’s “mind-boggling” that just recently, workers had to use sledge hammers to realign the rails so the 108-year-old bridge could lock in place for NJ Transit trains to pass.

“We are dealing with 19th Century infrastructure for a 21st Century economy,” Menendez said. “It’s amazing. We are living off the greatest generation’s investments and we haven’t kept up with it.”

The senator made the request to the Coast Guard to halt marine traffic after two separate bridge failures in October 2018.

Brenda Mushel, of East Rutherford, said during one incident, her 20-minute commute ended up lasting over two hours.

“I tweeted out NJ Transit many of times hoping that something would be done, so I’m glad to hear that something will be done,” she said of Friday’s news.

Still, the recent development is only a temporary solution to the much larger issue of funding for the Gateway Project, which would elevate the bridge 53-feet and replace the crumbling tunnels under the Hudson River.