NJ Transit Executive Director James Weinstein joined local, state and federal officials today at the grand opening of the new 8th Street Station in Bayonne, welcoming Hudson-Bergen Light Rail service to a new neighborhood and kicking off inaugural service on the recently completed one-mile extension,
As part of the opening ceremony, a special light rail train operated from 34th Street Station in Bayonne, carrying local officials and dignitaries along the new segment of the line, over the viaduct and into the elevated 8th Street Station. Following welcoming remarks from Bayonne Mayor Mark Smith, area leaders such as U.S. Senator Robert Menendez and U.S. Representative Albio Sires highlighted the benefits of the new station for local residents.
“Projects like 8th Street would not be possible without state support,” said Weinstein. “The $672 million dedicated to NJ Transit as part of Governor Christie’s new Transportation Capital Plan will ensure that we can continue to invest in these types of critical transit infrastructure projects.”
“The light rail system is a model of how to link communities with transportation options to encourage economic development, ease traffic congestion, reduce pollution, and reduce our dependence on oil,” said Senator Menendez. “The 8th Street extension in Bayonne will further connect people and opportunities, putting employment, education, and recreation within easy and affordable reach.”
“Since opening nearly 11 years ago, the light rail line has benefited Hudson County and the region by providing mass transit opportunities for our residents,” said Congressman Sires. “I am pleased that this latest expansion of the light rail system will provide greater mass transit access for the residents of Bayonne.”
In April 2008, the NJ Transit Board of Directors awarded a $58.4 million contract to George Harms Construction, Inc. of Howell, NJ, for work to extend the light rail line one mile from its previous southern terminus at 22nd Street. The project included the design and construction of foundations, viaduct structure, track work, intersection improvements, a new station building, landscaping, lighting and customer amenities.
Construction work on the project began in October 2008. From the elevated 22nd Street Station, the light rail tracks were extended south, hugging the existing Conrail right-of-way along Avenue E. A viaduct was built to carry light rail vehicles over local streets to an elevated platform at the new 8th Street Station, which features an elevator and stairs between street and platform levels.
“Hudson-Bergen Light Rail is much more than a transportation system—it is an engine of economic development for the region, creating jobs during its construction, and now serving as the vehicle of choice for thousands who live and work here as they use the system for their daily commute,” said FTA Regional Administrator Brigid Hynes-Cherin. “It has also been a shining example of the good things that can happen when government agencies, communities, legislators and stakeholders work together.”
“The Hudson-Bergen Light Rail system continues to serve as a model for transit agencies across the nation, driving economic growth, transit-friendly development, and connecting residents with jobs, education and recreational activities,” said Assembly Transportation Chairman John S. Wisniewski.
As a result of community meetings, the station was constructed at Avenue C and 8th Street, with architecture reminiscent of the old Central Railroad of New Jersey station that once stood near the site.
“This new station at 8th Street expands a vital north-south transportation option for Hudson County and the region,” said Hudson County Executive Thomas A. DeGise. “Whether traveling between Bayonne and North Bergen, or taking advantage of connections to trans-Hudson services, light rail has become the preferred choice for many residents.”
The new 8th Street Station was designed as a “walkable” station for Bayonne residents. The station also features a “Kiss and Ride” area with 10 short-term parking spaces for customers who wish to get dropped off at or picked up from the station.