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Drivers, Local Residents, Business Owners Fuming Over Endless Bridge Construction On Route 3 In N.J.

RUTHERFORD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- A bridge project in Bergen County is taking much longer than expected.

Residents say they are stuck in traffic, wondering if it will ever get done, CBS2's Meg Baker reported Tuesday.

A sign on Ridge Road in Rutherford reads "on or about June 15, 2018 this bridge to be closed." It was supposed to reopen in eight months, but here we are a year later and no bridge.

The massive steel beams sit in a staging area and there are no construction workers on site. So, what's the hold up? Baker tried to ask the New Jersey Department of Transportation, but no one would go on camera.

Route 3 bridge construction
(Photo: CBS2)

Rutherford Councilman Frank Nunziato said locals are beyond frustrated with the endless traffic jams and lack of communication by the state.

"They're not very forthcoming with information regarding timelines and any building issues they're having on their end," Nunziato said.

The bridge connects Rutherford and Lyndhurst over Route 3. The biggest issue is on Park Avenue.

"We need any assistance we can because the traffic is compounded with the Ridge Road Bridge being out and now being out for an extended period of time," Rutherford Police Chief John Russo said.

"It can take you sometimes almost 20 minutes to go 50 feet," Nunziato said.

The NJDOT said in a statement the bridge replacement has taken longer than expected because of complications installing the new beams.

"The crane size too big to properly install it so they're working on solution, but they have no specific time frame yet. It's a nightmare in our town. Everywhere you go, it's bumper to bumper," Lyndhurst Mayor Robert B. Giangeruso said.

Making matters worse, when the first bridge is done, a second bridge must also be replaced.

The owner of a gas station off Ridge Road said he is barely hanging on. He's lost half of his business.

Locals are fed up.

"Pretty much blocks everything off Route 21 to Route 3 to anywhere going into Jersey City or into the city," Lyndhurst resident Alex Suarez said.

The project is being constructed in stages using what the NJDOT calls "accelerated bridge construction with prefabricated parts." Had officials gone on camera, Baker would have asked what caused complications with the beams? Why wasn't it anticipated? Why weren't techniques used to close and repair other bridges in our area for very short periods of time used here?

Once the Ridge Road Bridge is completed, next up will be the Orient Way Bridge.

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