NJ Transit awards N.J. construction firm Raritan River bridge replacement project

NJ Transit announced on Wednesday it has approved a construction contract with Farmingdale-based George Harms Construction for the first phase of a three-part, $250 million Raritan River bridge replacement project.

The project is part of NJ Transit’s Resilience Program, which was launched after Hurricane Sandy to improve the reliability of its transit systems and infrastructure.

“We continue to make strategic resiliency investments in our infrastructure to ensure the long-term viability of the transportation system,’’ Kevin Corbett, NJ Transit CEO and president, said. “The Raritan River Bridge replacement contract awarded today is a great step forward in ensuring our North Jersey Coast Line customers have robust and sustainable rail service that will better withstand the effects of extreme weather, while meeting the current and future transportation needs of our customers for so many decades to come.’’

The River Draw bridge, NJ Transit said, sustained damage during Superstorm Sandy and needed emergency repair before being placed back in service. Built in 1908, the bridge is the only rail link for 17 of the 20 North Jersey Coast Line stations.

George Harms will be tasked with bridge approach spans, lift bridge and flanking span piers, and associated land work for the first part of the project. During construction, the existing bridge will be kept in service so there’s less disruptions. The next phase, which will be awarded in the future, will focus on the construction of a lift bridge and flanking spans superstructure, communications, signal and overhead catenary work. The last part will demolish the River Draw bridge once the new one is in up and running.

The project, NJ Transit said, moved forward as a result of a grant awarded by the Federal Transit Administration for resilience projects in response to Superstorm Sandy. FTA’s funding for that project totaled $446 million, of which $248 million will be used for this most recent contract.

The total project cost for all three phases is estimated to be $595 million.

The economic impact of the project on the state’s economy will be $1 billion, supporting 5,740 jobs and $352.5 million in earnings, according to the Rutgers Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation.