Liberty State Park Terminal Re-Opens: Continued Wharf Reconstruction Won’t Interfere with Ferry Rides!

By Maraliese Beveridge

headerJersey City’s day-long Freedom & Fireworks Festival at Liberty State Park celebrated on Independence Day was a milestone in the history of the park as it also marked the reopening of the Park’s Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal (CRRNJ). The Terminal sustained severe damage from SuperStorm Sandy’s 11 ft. storm surge in 2012. The $20 million project to restore this iconic brick building has given it a new lease on life more than 125 years after the terminal was initially finished. Modifications have been completed to elevate utilities to avert a repeat performance of potential future storm-related damages, restore the original brick exterior’s Romanesque-style architecture, windows, doors and unique three-story-high cupola and iron latticework holding up the roof and skylights. The terminal is ready to accommodate the over 4 million visitors who visit the park each year to enjoy the Park’s historic trilogy: Statue of LibertyEllis Island and CRRNJ Terminal. Both the Rail and Ferry terminals are listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places. The Ferry terminal, consisting of ferry house platforms, fender rack piers, and timber access bridges, was utilized for transferring millions of immigrants that came through Ellis Island. By the turn of the 20th century, it was used daily by thousands of commuters to reach the island of Manhattan.

Maser Consulting was retained to provide engineering design services for the reconstruction of the ferry terminal and the dredging of the area to provide boat access into and adjacent to the slips and docks. The project scope included 3D Laser Scanning and an existing conditions inspection survey, including underwater diving, of the damaged piers. Using remote sensing, data from the remaining deteriorated piers and piling was collected from the safety of the shore without the need for additional marine equipment. Services also included geotechnical soils analysis, full waterfront and structural engineering services, and construction administration.

While the arched transfer bridges are being replaced in-kind, one bridge is slated to be reconstructed using the original materials salvaged from the other bridges. The design of all site elements including fencing, pavers, lighting, gangways, ferry landing barges, fender racks and steel pile-supported concrete platforms include a design that will reflect the terminal’s historical context.

You’ll be happy to know that this construction won’t affect your ride! The Statue Cruises ferry service runs to Liberty and Ellis Islands 364 days/year. Originating from both Manhattan’s Battery Park and Liberty State Park on the Jersey side, the cruise is a great way to spend the day with friends or family! Liberty State Park also has bike paths, fields and walkways (part of the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway) and don’t forget to visit the Liberty Science Center!

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