The under-construction 25th Street pedestrian connecting Avenue E and Prospect Avenue in Bayonne has become a topic of discussion between the mayoral candidates.
The $2.6 million project, funded by municipal bonds, the state’s infrastructure bank, and some nearby redeveloper contributions, will see the old bridge removed and replaced by the a new one that complies with the Americans With Disabilities Act. The old bridge had a steep walkway over the freight and Light Rail tracks.
The replacement bridge will have an elevator on each side and steps on both sides that will lead to a flatter walkway than the one on the current bridge.
City Council President Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski hit Mayor James Davis over the demolition of the bridge, which she said was knocked down pre-emptively.
“They’re not rebuilding it in the same location,” Ashe-Nadrowski told the Bayonne Community News. “In order to move it, they need permission from Conrail to do the work. They also need to move a power line. And they still to this day do not have that permission. When they knocked down the bridge, they didn’t have permission.”
Ashe-Nadrowski said the project is stalling at City Hall.
“No one in City Hall is working on it. So why would you take down the bridge and leave them with nothing? You knew you were not close to building the bridge… We still don’t have the permission. So bad decision.”
She continued: “The council did our part right. We approved the money, the funding, getting everything ready for that bridge. And we approved the design of the bridge. That’s all we can do.”
Meanwhile, while the bridge is closed, residents are left without a way to walk over the train tracks in the immediate vicinity. Some East Side residents brought this up at Ashe-Nadrowski’s community meeting at Kuhl’s Tavern on Feb. 28, asking for shuttle service in the interim until the bridge is constructed.
“One of the residents was complaining because seniors have to walk all the way up to 30th Street and down,” Ashe-Nadrowski said. “Kids who go to school used to walk over that bridge. Now they have to walk down or up.”
Construction nearing completion?
Davis campaign spokesman Phil Swibinski declined to comment.
However, the construction of the bridge was previously estimated to be completed in late 2021 or early 2022. On the topic, Davis previously said in 2021: “We are sorry for the temporary inconvenience that will result from demolition and construction. When the new bridge is completed, it will be a great asset for our community, especially for our East Side residents.”
And last week, Davis told Tapinto Bayonne that the project is only waiting for approvals to move some wires before the new bridge can be put into place.
“Those wires supply the east side,” Davis said. “The bridge is ready to be installed. The contractor has it in storage.”
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