Congested New Jersey port roads targeted with DOT grant

July 26, 2021 GMT

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Some of the most congested roads in New Jersey are at the port complex in Newark and Elizabeth, where trucks roll through nonstop to pick up and drop off shipping containers at the nation’s second-busiest port.

With container volume in the New York/New Jersey port system setting a record last year despite the disruptions to the global supply chain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the aging roads and interchanges in Newark figure to continue taking a beating. A $44 million federal grant announced Monday will be used to modernize, expand and reconfigure the road system, make it safer and cut down on delays.

The grant “will provide a safety net for truckers that doesn’t exist right now,” Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Chairman Kevin O’Toole said Monday as trucks roared by behind him.

It’s estimated that 15,000 trucks use the roads each day at the northern access points to the port, which sit at the intersection of Interstate 78 and the New Jersey Turnpike across from Newark Liberty International Airport. The Port Authority, which operates the ports, said there were more than 400 truck accidents and three fatalities between 2005 and 2018.


The grant comes from the Department of Transportation’s Infrastructure for Rebuilding America program, and will be used as part of the Port Authority’s 10-year, $176 million road network modernization project.

Democratic New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez said reducing the number of trucks backed up or idling in the port area — a longtime problem — will benefit the surrounding area that includes Newark’s Ironbound neighborhood.

“This project is good for the port, good for the planet, and good for the people,” he said.