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Officials Break Ground On New Portal Bridge In Kearny, New Jersey

KEARNY, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- A mock groundbreaking near a century-old rail bridge in New Jersey has highlighted the challenges of paying for its replacement as well as the construction of a new rail tunnel into New York City.

When the 107-year-old North Portal Bridge in Kearny opens to let water traffic through on the Hackensack River it fails to properly close 15 percent of the time, causing massive delays.

Sen. Bob Menendez said a new bridge will be high enough to allow boats to pass underneath without opening.

"That means no more malfunctions, and no hour-long delays," Menendez said.

About $20 million has been secured for the first part of the replacement project, and Gov. Chris Christie is sure President Donald Trump will approve the rest.

"I am absolutely confident the president of the United States will partner with us to make sure that this entire project is done," Gov. Chris Christie said. "The president, I think, is very positive and optimistic."

The new bridge is a key component of the much larger $20 billion Gateway Project to expand and renovate the 10-mile northeast corridor between New Jersey and New York's Penn Station.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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