A new $18.5 million federal transportation grant to improve South Jersey’s infrastructure is set to create thousands of jobs.

The grant is part of a nearly $137 million project to improve the Delair Bridge in Pennsauken, which provides a link for freight traffic from Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The project has been an ongoing effort headed by the South Jersey Port Corporation, Salem County, Conrail and several local governments.

New Jersey Congressman Rob Andrews (NJ-01) said, “This has tremendous job potential. The construction itself and the construction that we hope will follow in the form of warehouses, manufacturing plants and other facilities, could create about 1,700 construction jobs, and eventually 2,500 full time jobs.”

The rest of the money for the project has been raised through private and public sector efforts. Congressman Frank LoBiondo (NJ-02) said “The project is probably one of the best examples of a private-public partnership that you will find. It cuts across party lines. It’s a project that we know will produce jobs, and will retain jobs.”

The Congressmen announced the federal grant during a conferencence call Wednesday.