The first project is a bridge that will link the Jersey City section of the light rail to the Hoboken terminal. Between Newport and Hoboken, the line will be carried on a viaduct over Newport Parkway and 14th and 18th streets in Jersey City, then an elevated bridge that will cross Long Slip Canal, making its way to Hoboken.
The construction is part of the second phase of the light rail. The first existing phase already runs from Bayonne to Jersey City's Newport Center. The new phase will continue to the Hoboken train terminal area, up the west side of town and through Weehawken to the Port Imperial ferry terminal. According to NJ Transit spokesman Ken Miller, construction is going smoothly and the Hoboken terminal light rail terminal is scheduled to open this fall.
The new light rail station will be just north of the Hoboken's terminal and will only be a short walk to the PATH and NJ Transit trains.
On Hoboken's west side, construction under the Palisades continues. By 2003, the phase of the light rail that connects the Hoboken Terminal to Weehawken is scheduled to be finished. In Hoboken there will be a stop at Ninth Street. "This project has already brought many benefits to Hudson County and should do the same for Hoboken," said Miller. "We have see substantial growth on the waterfront, the blossoming of new retail areas, and the rebirth of areas that have previously struggled. We expect that trend to continue."
Ever since $1.1 billion in federal funding was secured for the project in 1996, area real estate speculators began buying up land on Hoboken's west side, and large and ambitious project are slated to begin in the next couple of months.
After the Weehawken section is finished, the light rail will proceed through the Weehawken tunnels and connect with Tonnele Avenue in North Bergen in 2005.
When finished in 2010, the light rail will extend 20.5 miles through Hudson and Bergen counties. It will have 32 passenger stations and is expected to carry 100,000 passengers a day. Currently, according to Miller, the Light Rail has a ridership of slightly over 16,000 passengers daily.
Connecting Hoboken to Secaucus
The second project near the terminal is made up of large steel structures and substantial work on the existing rails. According Miller, that construction is not related to the light rail but is preliminary construction to prepare of the opening for NJ Transit's Allied Junction Station in Secaucus. "Expansion of the rail yard is needed," said Miller. "NJ Transit has to increase capacity and clear room to accommodate more equipment for the increased traffic the Allied Junction Station is expected to produce."
The $450 million the Secaucus Transfer train station, which is the rail portion of Allied Junction, has been under construction since 1997 and will connect various rail lines through North Jersey and allow passengers to transfer to Amtrak trains headed into central Manhattan, and commuter trains to Hoboken. The Secaucus Transfer could be finished by 2003, significantly increasing the amount of commuters and rail riders into the Mile-square City.