CAMDEN, NJ — A $7 million grant from NJ Transit will pay for a new pedestrian bridge that will go over the River LINE and four lanes of Martin Luther King Boulevard adjacent to the Walter Rand Transportation Center (WRTC) in Camden.
The Camden County Board of Freeholders voted in June 2019 to accept the grant and the board announced Monday that the project has now entered the design phase.
Construction is expected to begin in 2021.
“This new span will significantly improve safety in and around the Walter Rand Transportation Center, lifting pedestrian traffic above cars, trucks, buses, light rail vehicles, and bicycles,” New Jersey Department of Transportation Commissioner and NJ TRANSIT Chair Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti said in a statement.
Gutierrez-Scaccetti said the addition of the bridge is part a “holistic set of upgrades” planned for the center, which many in the community have long waited to see refurbished. NJ Transit hopes the WRTC, which runs 26 bus lines, will ultimately improve its “intermodal connectivity” with the PATCO Speedline subway – used by Philadelphia commuters as well – and the River LINE light rail
“This new structure will provide an additional level of safety to pedestrians looking to access the critical mass of medical centers and higher education campuses on the other side of MLK,” said Freeholder Barbara Holcomb, liaison to the Department of Public Works. “This is another significant piece of critical county infrastructure that will make the traveling public safer and make crossing this busy county thoroughfare easier for the community, enhancing the quality of life for our residents.”
In a press release, the county says design engineers will be asked to form a steering committee – taking into account feedback from Camden residents, stakeholders and businesses.
“NJ TRANSIT is proud to be working closely with Camden County to bring improvements to the Walter Rand Transportation Center in Camden, enhancing safety, the customer experience and providing better access to critical transportation services,” said NJ TRANSIT President & CEO Kevin Corbett. “Some of these improvements include this new pedestrian bridge and our electric bus demonstration project beginning in Camden in 2021, to support economic growth, environmental sustainability and meet the demands of residents, customers, businesses, and employers.”
Engineering firms can submit pedestrian bridge proposals until Jan. 7, 2021.
A contract will likely be awarded by February, county officials said.