ELIZABETH, NJ — NJ Transit announced April 10 a final design and development contract for a long-awaited Broad Street train station reconstruction project.
The project will include new station buildings, climate-controlled platform shelters, additional elevators and improved access for those with disabilities, the transit agency said.
“This project is a perfect example of the investments we are making to restore the rail system,” NJ Transit Executive Director Kevin Corbett said in a statement. “A new, modern and efficient station capable of handling the demands of this important Northeast Corridor stop is critical. This project is emblematic of the turn-around we are beginning at NJ Transit.”
Preliminary designs for the renovations were first announced in 2015, and the project was slated for completion this year. Mayor J. Christian Bollwage previously said in a November 2017 press release that there were issues between NJ Transit and Amtrak that needed to be hashed out, which put the project on hold.
The mayor did not respond to messages left at his office or with city spokeswoman Kelly Martins by this article’s deadline.
The project is now slated for completion by 2020, NJ Transit said. The NJ Transit Board of Directors approved a contract with Anselmi and DeCicco for $49.2 million. A contract for construction management services with WSP USA Inc. for $4.7 million was also approved, the agency said.
Overall, the project is estimated to cost $71 million, NJ Transit said.
The station is shared between the city’s 4th and 6th wards. Councilmen from both districts said the project will benefit the area.
“The construction of a new two-story building and train platforms at the city’s midtown NJ Transit station will revolutionize the heart of our city,” said 4th Ward Councilman Carlos Cedeno in an email. “This project will provide new jobs, greater feasibility for our commuters, a cleaner environment, and a higher level of security and safety for everyone. Without question, this improvement has significant benefits for our city.”
Frank Mazza, who represents the 6th Ward, said he uses the station at least once a month to go into New York and wants “to see better things at the train station.”
“Our people deserve the same treatment whether the station might be Secaucus or down the shore area,” Mazza said in a phone interview. “Our people deserve the best. It’s about time that they’re spending the money.”
The plan will also restore the existing pedestrian tunnel and plaza area, and add new communication systems and message signs, security systems and TransitArts features.
Bollwage previously said in a November press release that he’d been told by NJ Transit there was a delay on Amtrak’s part regarding the location for proposed Northeast Corridor track improvements near the station.
However, Amtrak told Bollwage the project was hampered because NJ Transit was not paying rent to use New York Penn Station, the release said.
Former Gov. Chris Christie wanted NJ Transit to stop making lease payments to Amtrak last year due to unanswered questions about a train derailment, NJ Advance Media previously reported.
NJ Transit spokesman Jim Smith did not clarify which Amtrak or NJ Transit issues have delayed the project when reached by LocalSource.
“NJ Transit has worked in coordination with Amtrak regarding the use of Amtrak property for this critical project,” Smith said in a April 16 email. The NJ Transit Board of Directors’ recent action will move the project into final design and construction. We will continue to work cooperatively with Amtrak as this project advances.”
Gov. Phil Murphy called NJ Transit a “national disgrace” in December before he was sworn into office, and in late January appointed Corbett as the organization’s new executive director.
Other nearby municipalities have also called on NJ Transit to make repairs to their train stations. The Linden City Council recently approved bonds to make fixes to its station after NJ Transit repeatedly stalled on the project.