The process of revitalizing a car-free section of Newark Avenue finally has an end in sight as construction is chugging along on the last portion of the street.
After years of planning and more than a few delays, the renovation of the Newark Avenue Pedestrian Plaza kicked off last spring. Designed by Red Bank-based Maser Consulting, the $6.7 million project aims to create a more formal plaza to replace the green paint version that has been around since 2015.
Work is mostly complete on the western portion of the plaza heading towards Jersey Avenue and the entire stretch of roadway has been raised to match the level of the sidewalk. New trench drains have been installed along the length of the project, as has revamped lighting and fresh sidewalks.
Both the western Newark Avenue block and a section of Bay Street have fresh pavers completely installed, and the intersection of Newark Avenue and Erie Street has been raised and completed as well. New benches plus decorative planters are starting to roll out and a future stage where Newark Avenue and Bay Street meet has some ongoing work.
The final stretch of construction along the plaza is between Erie and Grove streets, or the first section that transit riders see when they exit the area’s PATH station. The remaining work consists mostly of paver installation alongside some bench and furniture fitting.
It is unclear exactly when work on the chronically delayed plaza could wrap up. The initial contract approved by the City Council last year contained a clause stating that the job must be completed “within 183 calendar days,” a timeframe that has already doubled.
Business owners should nonetheless welcome the completion of the plaza overhaul, as they have endured almost a year of construction at this point. Several new restaurants, including Brick Lane, Grace O’Malley’s, Tamborium Bar & Grill, and a re-opened South House stand to gain additional outdoor seating for the summer months when the work is complete.