CLARK, NJ - Construction on the Madison Hill Road bridge has been halted, one of many projects across New Jersey suspended indefinitely due to lack of funds in the state’s Transportation Trust Fund, according to Union County Freeholders Chairman Bruce Bergen.
In addition to the Clark bridge, several major projects across Union County are affected Bergen said. They include bridge repairs in Springfield and Roselle, and the county’s annual road resurfacing project.
“None of the bridges are unsafe, but the longer they go without the repairs being done, the more difficult the repairs become, the more expensive the repairs become and it becomes more likely that maybe something will be deemed unsafe,” Bergen said.
Stopping work in the middle of a project may cause contractors to lay off workers, according to Bergen.
“When the time comes to go back to work there are going to be added costs,” Bergen said. “The contractors are not going to want to eat those costs because it wasn’t their fault.”
According to Bergen, the work will not resume until the state provides funding for the projects.
During a Union County Freeholders meeting on July 14, Freeholder Christopher Hudak said that, over the last seven years, the Governor’s office has claimed the Transportation Trust Fund was well-funded.
However, an executive order issued by Governor Chris Christie on June 30 stated that if transportation projects across the state were to continue, funding would run out by August 2016. Christie was seeking a 23-cent gas tax hike to cover the cost of transportation projects across the state.
“There’s no disagreement among any of the parties that the Transportation Trust Fund needs to be funded…the fight is over what [does government] cut instead,” Bergen said.
Construction equipment remains at the Madison Hill Road bridge worksite, untouched for the time being, as traffic continues to pass through narrowed travel lanes and pedestrians cross to a temporary wooden walkway.