New Jersey roads and bridges are crumbling — and it’ll cost billions to fix
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A new report finds infrastructure in the Garden State is in very poor shape, and it will take billions of dollars to make things better.
The American Society of Engineers report gives New Jersey a grade of D+, the same as the entire country.
“It means the infrastructure is near failing; it means it doesn’t have the capacity. So, if you look at roads, you have high congestion,” said Greg DiLoreto, past president of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and current chair of ASCE’s Committee for America’s Infrastructure.
He explained the grade is determined by considering several categories, including parks, solid waste, transit, hazardous waste, inland waterways, levees, ports, rail, schools, wastewater, aviation, bridges, dams, drinking water, energy and roads.
DiLoreto said highways and byways in the Garden State are in especially poor condition.
“You have 39,000 miles of public roads with 38 percent in poor condition. Now, that compares nationally to only 20 percent of the highways are in poor condition, so your roads are in worse condition than others,” he said.
“In fact it’s costing your motorists $667 per motorist per year in costs from driving on those bad roads, while the national average is $533.”
He said another big problem in the Garden State is that hundreds of bridges don’t meet current standards.
“Structurally deficient bridges do not mean they’re going to fall down, but it certainly means they require more maintenance and more inspections,” he said.
“The good news is you spent nearly $360 million on bridge projects in the last few years, and that means you at least recognize the problem,’ said DiLoreto.
He added the other piece of good news is “your state in 2016 increased its gas tax certainly, in order to start funding those roads and bridge issues. That’s the first time that happened in 28 years, but going forward you really can’t wait 28 years to do something.”
He stressed infrastructure, in many ways, is like your home.
“It needs constant maintenance, it needs expansion for people that are moving to New Jersey, and it needs in some cases, replacement.”
You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com.