Transportation Systems Sector: Bridges, Tunnels, and Highways

The network of highways in the United States includes nearly four million miles of roadway, 600,000 bridges, and 400 tunnels. New Jersey has 38,566 miles of road managed by the State, county and municipal governments, and toll road authorities. The New Jersey Turnpike Authority manages the Garden State Parkway and the New Jersey Turnpike. New Jersey’s transportation network contains 32 interstate bridges and tunnels including one bridge to Delaware, four bridges to Philadelphia, and four bridges and two tunnels to New York City.

Threat

Terrorism: Low
Since 1993 there have been three terrorist plots against this sub-sector, although there has never been a successful attack in the United States. In April 2012, five anarchists plotted to blow up a bridge in Ohio’s Cuyahoga Valley National Park, but were arrested after purchasing inert explosives from an undercover FBI agent.

Cyber: Low
Bridges, tunnels, and highways have integrated traffic monitoring and communication devices into their infrastructure. While there are no specific threats to this sub-sector in New Jersey, unsecure devices—lights, road signs, and other traffic control devices—are targets of opportunity that cyberterrorists or other malicious hackers could manipulate to disrupt traffic patterns or intentionally cause accidents. 

Hazardous Materials
Hazardous materials (HazMat) are regularly transported on New Jersey’s bridges, tunnels, and highways. Flammable liquids such as gasoline represent a large portion of the HazMat transported, and the highest percentage of deaths and property damage resulting from transportation related accidents. In October 2015, an accident on the New Jersey Turnpike caused a tanker carrying 8,500 gallons of gasoline to explode, killing the driver and disrupting travel for several hours.

Preparedness

New Jersey is covered by three Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) which are the main decision-making bodies for selecting projects for the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program. They collaborate with the New Jersey Department of Transportation, New Jersey Transit, county and municipal transportation planners and engineers, other transportation implementing agencies, the public and elected officials at the state, county, and municipal levels. The State’s three MPOs are:

Rutgers Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation (CAIT) is home to the Bridge Evaluation and Accelerated Structural Testing (BEAST) lab, which measures stresses and deterioration caused by extreme traffic on full-scale bridge systems in a compressed time frame. The BEAST allows bridge owners and builders to see the future performance and lifespan of materials, elements, as well as maintenance, rehabilitation, and preservation techniques for aging highway bridges. 

The SafeTrip NJ App provides real-time, hands-free traffic advisories for every major highway, bridge, and tunnel in New Jersey. 

NJ511 is a free phone and web service that provides the most recent traffic conditions throughout New Jersey.

Intelligence Gaps

  • What are the most vulnerable information technology devices within New Jersey’s transportation infrastructure?
  • What types of cyber threat actors are attempting to scan or penetrate transportation infrastructure?
  • What terrorist groups or homegrown violent extremists are attempting to infiltrate businesses involved in the transport of HazMat?

For more information, please contact NJOHSP's Preparedness Bureau at preparedness@njohsp.gov.