Process has begun to permanently close railroad lift bridge in New Jersey

Written by RT&S Staff
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Officials want to permanently close the Dock Bridge, which has caused delays in the past.

Amtrak wants to dock the Dock Bridge, which crosses the Passaic River in Harrison, N.J.

The 85-year-old structure is a massive twin span lift bridge that carries six lines of tracks, and when it gets stuck it usually causes delays, as many as 37 hours worth over the past few years. Amtrak owns the bridge and has initiated the process with the U.S. Coast Guard to permanently place it in the closed position. NJ Transit, PATH and Amtrak all use the bridge.

The Dock Bridge has not been that active over the years. A spokesperson for the U.S. Coast Guard says there have been limited requests to open the bridge.

The span does have to open at least once a year for inspection, and the process usually comes with a delay because either the tracks do not properly line up or signals do not make contact.

Amtrak does intend to make repairs to the Dock Bridge. The Federal Railroad Administration has yet to approve a $31.8 million grant. Amtrak, NJ Transit and PATH are expected to come up with the remaining money.

The application process with the U.S. Coast Guard could take as long as six months. Environment requirements have to be met and Amtrak needs to prove that permanently closing the bridge will not cause vertical clearing issues with vessels using the river.

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