Around six years after construction began, then stopped, then began again, then stopped again on the pedestrian bridge from Weehawken’s light rail station to the Port Imperial Ferry terminal, NJ Transit has set a date to award a construction contract to a bidder.
The rail company gave potential renovators a pre-bid walkthrough tour on Tuesday, Dec. 13. Though subject to date change, the bidding is currently scheduled to take place beginning at 2 p.m. on Jan. 12, 2012 in the sixth floor “bid room” located at NJT headquarters.
“Hallelujah.” –Mayor Richard Turner
The renovation seems timely, given that the bridge stands right next to the future site of the 2013 Formula One racing pit stop area.
The town of Weehawken suggested that NJ Transit open the bridge and its stairs rather than wait for completion of the elevator too. The town will provide a shuttle service for those who cannot climb stairs. NJT said the stairs will be open to pedestrians in June, 2012.
“Hallelujah,” Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner said. “We finally appear to be six months away from getting part of the pedestrian bridge open.”
Bridge over troubled history
In 2005, NJT was allocated $8 million in state funds to build a bridge that connected the light rail stop to a parking garage and hotel that Roseland Properties had planned to add to its residential waterfront development. The bridge was set to open in 2008 after the electrification of the light rail system so as not to interrupt train service. But negotiations between the two companies stalled after Roseland postponed both buildings due to a waning economy.
An article in the Reporter from August, 2010 reported that Turner had reopened negotiations with the two parties and developed a new plan for the bridge.
In addition to the existing stairs, a 10-person, two-story elevator had been proposed on the light rail station side of the street.
Plans and pre-qualifications
NJT’s printed invitation for bids suggests that the bridge still requires quite a bit of work, the projected cost of which may run between $750,000 and $1 million. The work includes priming, repainting, concrete work, excavation, drainage, roofing, gutter reconstruction, metal siding, glass installation, architectural detail work, communications, and fire and intrusion detection. The bridge also requires the construction of a temporary walkway and a hydraulic elevator.
Because the project is funded by the state, bidders must meet certain standards to pre-qualify at least seven days before the actual bidding takes place. They must demonstrate a history of successful management and performance of the sort of work the bridge needs, they must have adequate financial resources, and they must provide references, among other qualifications.
“It’s been the most complicated and drawn-out process,” Turner stated. “We are confident that NJT will make this deadline.”
Gennarose Pope may be reached at email@example.com