April 8, 2005
In north-central New Jersey, a major phase of the construction project for the new Victory Bridge was completed. This phase involved installing segments of the superstructure (the part of a bridge supporting the deck and linking one substructure to another) on the northbound section of the bridge.
This bridge was built as an improved means for carrying traffic on New Jersey Route 35 over the Raritan River and connecting the city of Perth Amboy on the north side with the borough of Sayreville to the south. The original Victory Bridge that this new structure replaced had been opened to traffic in 1926. At the time of its public debut, this first version of the Victory Bridge – measuring 360 feet (110 meters) in length — was the longest swing bridge in the Garden State. During inaugural festivities that were attended by thousands of people, the bridge was formally dedicated to New Jersey residents who had served in World War I.
Notwithstanding a great deal of fanfare that accompanied its grand opening, the original Victory Bridge became increasingly problematic and obsolete over the course of time. The key problems in maintaining the bridge included the ever-growing volumes of traffic in that region of New Jersey and the all-too-frequent openings of the low-level structure to accommodate vessels traveling through the area on the Raritan River
Construction on a new bridge finally began in 2003 under the supervision of the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT). Jack Lettiere, who served as NJDOT commissioner from 2002 to 2006 (and as AASHTO president in 2005-06), highlighted yet another reason for getting rid of the original Victory Bridge. “We wanted to replace this structure with something even more magnificent,” he said.
The $162.5 million project for constructing the new Victory Bridge was funded by federal and New Jersey Transportation Trust Fund monies. Figg Bridge Engineers, Inc. and Vollmer Associates jointly prepared the design for the bridge, and NJDOT contracted with George Harms Construction Company to build the structure.
To help reduce the time for building the bridge, NJDOT selected the segmental precast concrete method for both the superstructures and substructures. Precast concrete is produced and cured in usable form at another location and then transported to the construction site to be readily lifted into place, while standard concrete (in a more time-consuming process) is typically prepared and cured at the construction site; the precast segments of concrete used for the second Victory Bridge were shipped from Virginia.
Construction on what would become the southbound section of the high-level fixed bridge was finished in 2004. The original Victory Bridge was subsequently demolished so that the northbound section of its replacement could be constructed there.
About six-and-a-half months after the superstructure segments of that northbound section had been put in place, Lettiere officially announced the completion of the entire project. In doing so, he made clear one significant thing that the new bridge shared with its predecessor. “This new Victory Bridge is a fitting monument to the veterans of World War I,” he said. Lettiere also attributed construction of the current Victory Bridge to “hard work and cooperation by federal, state and local officials to increase safety and improve traffic flow.”
U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey likewise emphasized the expected benefits of the new structure. “This new Victory Bridge means an easier trip for 20,000 motorists every day,” he said. “NJDOT has done a great job on this project, and I will continue to work with them to make our roads and bridges safer and more efficient.”
The northbound and southbound sections of the current bridge each consist of two 12-foot (3.7-meter) travel lanes, a 10-foot (3-meter) bicycle lane/outside shoulder, and a 3-foot (.91-meter) shoulder. In addition, the southbound section has a 6-foot (1.8-meter) sidewalk. To further pay tribute to New Jersey residents who fought in World War I, the light poles along the bridge feature plaques highlighting the battles of that military conflict in which U.S. troops participated. The construction project for the current Victory Bridge resulted in numerous design awards, including those presented by the New Jersey Concrete Association, American Segmental Bridge Institute, and Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute.
For more information on the current Victory Bridge and its predecessor, please check out https://www.state.nj.us/transportation/about/press/2005/102705.shtm
Additional information on crossings of the Raritan River is available at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_crossings_of_the_Raritan_River