Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, ranking member of the Senate’s transit subcommittee, on Tuesday announced the U.S. Coast Guard will extend and make permanent peak rush hour marine traffic restrictions along the Hackensack River to reduce the risk of the 109-year-old Portal Bridge opening and becoming stuck.
The Coast Guard, at Menendez’s request, has extended temporary restrictions it imposed in March through Jan. 8, 2020, while it completes its formal permanent rule-making process.
According to Menendez, under the conditions, all boats on the Hackensack River that require Amtrak’s Portal Bridge in Kearny to open are halted between 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. and from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., with limited exceptions due to tidal restrictions – and with a minimum two hours’ notice.
“As owner and operator of the existing Portal Bridge, Amtrak appreciates the leadership of Sen. Menendez and the U.S. Coast Guard in seeking to make permanent the rule restricting bridge openings to non-rush hours,” Stephen Gardner, Amtrak chief operating and commercial officer, said. “The new Portal North Bridge will have much higher clearance over the river, negating the need to open and close, and representing the best and most equitable way to meet the needs of all users of the Hackensack River.”