There are four main program elements.
The Northeast Corridor Modifications Project involves expansion of the NEC alignment from two to four tracks. This requires construction of new viaducts, bridges and embankments with extensive track, civil, structural, signaling, electrification, communications and environmental work. The Rail Transfer Station Project involves construction of a rail station located at the intersection of the Northeast Corridor and the Main Line. The station consists of a lower level serving the Main Line, an intermediate level serving the Northeast Corridor and an upper level concourse area housing management, operations, retail, ticketing, etc. The Main/Bergen Connection Project involves construction of two new tracks over which Bergen County and Pascack Valley trains would be routed to the Main Line. The Main Line would also be expanded from two to four tracks to accommodate the Bergen and Pascack Valley trains. The New County Road/Grade Separation Project involves the construction of a bridge to carry New County Road over what will become the four tracks of the Main, Bergen & Pascack Valley lines. Project Cost
NEC Modification and Rail Transfer Station Design: $30.4 million;
NEC Modification and Rail Transfer Station Construction: $449.8 million;
Main/Bergen Design & Construction: $78 million;
New County Road Grade Separation Design & Construction: $20.6 million.
The project is funded by the PANY&NJ, Metro North, FTA, NJ Turnpike, and the TTF. Current Status
Construction began in 1995 and is currently about 75 percent complete. Benefits
Secaucus Transfer will shorten travel times to and from mid-town Manhattan by 15 minutes. The new station will also provide connections for intra-New Jersey rail trips not possible today. Source: NJ TRANSIT Office of Government and Community Relations, March 2002
N.J. Train Station Forces Grave
SECAUCUS, N.J. - Behind a stretch of razor wire, the bodies of thousands of poor and forgotten are buried in anonymous plots, many dating from the late 19th century.
Except for a tiny caretaker's cottage that has fallen into disrepair, there are no clues that these 3 acres of industrial land off the New Jersey Turnpike served as a potter's field.
On Sunday, the New Jersey Turnpike Authority held a memorial service for the 3,500 people buried there. In about a week, archaeologists will begin digging up the graves to make room for a new rail transfer station along the highway.
The remains will be reburied at a cemetery in North Bergen, where a single monument will be built with the names of the deceased.
John Keller, project engineer for the Secaucus Interchange Project, said the disinterment is among the largest ever performed nationwide. He said the only larger project was in 1997, when more than 9,550 bodies were removed to make way for an expansion at Lambert Airport in St. Louis.
About 20 people attended Sunday's service, led by four clergymen and held in a white tent with metal folding chairs. Among them was Patrick Andriani of Roxbury, who believes his grandfather was buried in plot No. 6408 on New Year's Eve 1948.
"Listen, I would like for the bodies to stay here," Andriani said as car horns blared from the turnpike overhead. "But they will be better off. Right now, they're under 5 feet of garbage and refuse."
The Andrianis are the only relatives of the deceased who have contacted the turnpike authority about the remains of family members, spokesman Joe Orlando said.
Sunday's service was largely attended by reporters, turnpike employees and the engineers who will oversee the project.
The old graveyard, used by Hudson County from the late 19th century until 1962, was covered with fill when the original eastern spur of the turnpike was built. It was disrupted again when the county built a now-abandoned jail on part of the cemetery.
Turnpike engineer Robert Grimm said the graveyard project will cost about $5 million. About 40 archaeologists will begin the excavation Feb. 18 and work through the summer.
"This is going to be the equivalent of any archaeological dig," Orlando said. "It's going to be done by hand. It's a meticulous project."
Archaeologists will try to locate plots using an old map of the graveyard. The map, along with a ledger listing the names of those buried at the site, were found in a Hudson County building in April.
The only surviving landmark from the map is the caretaker's cottage, which no longer has a roof and is covered with a blue tarp.
The turnpike authority does not expect to identify any remains, Orlando said. About three people will be buried in each new grave shaft in North Bergen, he said.
The Secaucus site will be used for a $235 million interchange that will serve the new Secaucus Transfer Station along NJ Transit's Northeast Corridor Line.
The $500 million station will be a northern New Jersey rail hub, and also serve planned office towers, hotels and retail space nearby.
A marker will identify the site
as a former burial ground and direct visitors to the cemetery in North Bergen.
The Secaucus Interchange and Former Burial Site
The new Secaucus Interchange, scheduled for completion in 2004, will be located between 15E and 16E on the Eastern Spur and will provide travelers direct access to the recently constructed NJ Transit Secaucus Transfer Station on the Northeast Corridor Line as well as a new commercial office complex.
The construction of the off ramp will cross over the old Potter's Field burial grounds, which has been abandoned for over 40 years. The Turnpike Authority has agreed to fund the disinterment of the affected graves at the old site to the Hoboken Cemetery at a cost of about 5 million dollars.
In addition, a memorial with the names of those known is to be erected, and the Turnpike Authority will create trust funds for the perpetual care of both the memorial and re-interment site. A marker at the Potter's Field grounds will identify the site as a former burial ground and direct visitors to the Hoboken cemetery. For a list of those interred at the Potter's Field Burial Grounds, transcribed by the Turnpike Authority from original records -- Burial List in pdf format -- 226k.
Poor and dead, but not
Not even their closest relatives knew where they were buried until three years ago, when workers broke ground on New Jersey Turnpike Exit 15X in Secaucus.
In what is believed to be the largest reinterment ever conducted in this country, 4,572 bodies were pulled from a potter's field on turnpike land and reburied in Maple Grove Park Cemetery in Hackensack.
On Sunday, that ground was consecrated with the dedication of a 7-foot-high, 55-foot-long granite and bronze monument showcasing the names of 7,767 dead from the original Hudson County burial ledgers from December 1880 to April 1962.
The ceremony put to rest a years-long saga that featured twists and turns worthy of Charles Dickens. It began with the surprise detection of the graves in 2001. It involved untold hours of sorting through thousands of remains for identifying characteristics before the accidental discovery of the burial ledgers made the task a little easier. The reburials were set to take place in a Hoboken cemetery - until gravediggers discovered still more unmarked human remains in that graveyard. The problem was solved by Maple Grove Park, which offered a 50- by 60-foot corner of its cemetery for the reburials. And it culminated in Sunday's monument dedication, attended by about 50 people - turnpike officials, clergy, relatives of the deceased and a documentary film crew.
"It's real closure for our family," said Fred Seeber, a laser physicist from Manahawkin whose maternal grandfather, Paul Casadonte, died of tuberculosis in November 1916 and was buried in one of the unmarked graves.
Casadonte emigrated from Italy not long before his death, Seeber said. His family didn't have money for a funeral, so he wound up in the potter's field along with indigents from the county poorhouse, inmates from the county jail and mental patients from the county hospital.
"For years and years and years we've been trying to find him," Seeber said. "I used to walk through the field looking for him. As if he'd just pop up."
In recent years, the burial ground, also known as the Snake Hill Cemetery, devolved into a wild tangle of weeds and rubbish. The Turnpike Authority, which planned a six-ramp, $235 million interchange to connect with the new Secaucus Junction transfer station, spent between $5 million and $6 million to move the 4,572 bodies and bury them in Hackensack, according to assistant chief engineer Bob Grimm.
"It was about doing the right thing," Grimm said, "not about money."
Though the turnpike was able to relocate 4,572 bodies, ledgers show 7,767 people were buried in unmarked graves in Hudson County. That leaves 3,195 bodies unaccounted for, including that of James Brew, an Irish immigrant who died in October 1884.
"Hudson County should make an issue of the cemeteries on their property and do something about it, just like the turnpike did," said Brew's great-great-great-grandson, Bill Hastings of Bayonne. Hastings runs a Web site, graveinfo.com, which offers detailed transcriptions of the burial ledgers.
"I want to know where my ancestor is resting," Hastings said.
Also speaking up for the thousands of bodies still buried in unmarked graves was Sandra Longo, a documentary filmmaker from Atlantic Highlands putting the finishing touches on a film about the reinterment called "Snake Hill."
"Millions of people drive by them every day and don't know
they're there," Longo said.