Empire State Gateway Plan Stretches Twin Suspension Bridges from NJ to Queens

Posted On Mon, May 23, 2016 By

Posted On Mon, May 23, 2016 By In New Jersey, Transportation, Urban Design

Just two months ago, the state allocated $70 million for early engineering work on a new Hudson River tunnel, part of the larger $20 billion Gateway project to fix the crumbling, century-old tunnels that currently carry New Jersey Transit and Amtrak trains under the Hudson River. Despite the move forward, a traffic consultant from Delaware thinks he has a better idea.

NJ.com shared Scott R. Spencer’s proposal for twin suspension bridges that would stretch 3.5 miles from New Jersey, across Manhattan at 38th and 39th Streets, and in to Queens. He believes the plan, aptly titled the Empire State Gateway, would be a much quicker solution to the current transportation woes, with one bridge taking about five years to complete versus 20+ years for the tunnels. Spencer’s idea, however, would also cost $20 billion, and as Untapped points out, would cast quite the shadow over Midtown (not to mention the countless approvals and variances it would require).

Empire State Gateway-2

Six 1,000-foot towers would support the bridges, which would have the required 212 feet of clearance over the River. Eastbound traffic would run along 38th Street, with westbound traffic on 39th Street. The project would use air rights over Route 495 in New Jersey and construct a new station on 6th Avenue, just south of Bryant Park.

Empire State Gateway-3

Each bridge would have a lower level 100 feet above ground that would accommodate two rail lines. The second level would have two lanes for buses and commercial car traffic, as well a light rail or magnetic levitation train line that Spencer claims would reduce congestion in the Lincoln Tunnel and Port Authority bus terminal. A pedestrian and bike lane would occupy the third level.

Spencer previously worked as a consultant on the ARC Tunnel project, another plan for new Hudson River rail tunnels that was started in 2009, but stopped by Governor Christie the following year due to lack of funding. He refers to his new idea as “very futuristic” and explains that 75 percent of the investment cost would come from “tolls for buses, taxis and limos, fees paid by NJ Transit and Amtrak to use the span, transit oriented real estate fees, and revenue from cell phone, TV and radio antennas.” He presented the proposal last week at a meeting about the tunnel and plans to share the idea with the Federal Railroad Administration next week.

[Via NJ.com and Untapped]

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Renderings and maps via Tevebaugh Associates Architects

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