Portal North Bridge Construction Project Reaches Major Milestone

Early construction work completed on time and on budget through successful interagency collaboration

NJ TRANSIT, with support from Amtrak, has completed an early action construction contract that included five major construction elements for the Portal North Bridge Replacement Program.  This contract broke ground in October 2017 and these construction elements were completed earlier this month – on time and on budget.

This NJ TRANSIT-sponsored and managed project was accomplished with the cooperation and support of the Gateway Program Development Corporation (GDC) and federal partners.  This milestone also demonstrates the ongoing commitment by the regional partner agencies to deliver a cost-effective program in a timely manner.

“The current Portal Bridge is a frequent source of delays and frustration for our customers,” said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director Kevin Corbett. “With the completion of this milestone on time and on budget, we eagerly await the USDOT’s approval of our funding application to maintain forward progress on this vital project. We are one step closer to improving the reliability and predictability our customers deserve as they commute to and from work, school and recreation.”

“On time and on budget completion of the early construction work on the Portal North Bridge project is a major achievement that demonstrates the value of an effective partnership in delivering complicated projects,” said the GDC Trustees – Chairman Jerry Zaro, Vice Chairman Tony Coscia and New York Trustee Steven M. Cohen.  “With $600 million committed by the State of New Jersey and the strong support of Governors Murphy and Cuomo, we are eager to continue this momentum.  Replacing a century-old moveable bridge with a modern span that is less prone to failure will immediately improve the quality of life for 200,000 daily passengers and make this busy stretch of the Northeast Corridor safer and more reliable.”

Funding for this early works project was provided through a $16 million TIGER grant awarded in September 2016 to NJ TRANSIT, along with a local match contribution of $4 million provided by New Jersey’s Transportation Trust Fund (TTF).

The five elements of the project included:

  • Installation of new fiber optic poles to carry fiber optic cable lines which help provide data communications and transmission services to New York City and the surrounding metropolitan area.
  • Construction of a utility protection structure to protect a century-old cast iron water main that supplies water to Jersey City.
  • Construction of a finger pier to support future construction activities.
  • Erecting two new high voltage transmission poles which carry the high voltage (138kV) power lines that power trains along this section of the Northeast Corridor.
  • Construction of a retaining wall just west of Secaucus Junction that will support the new bridge alignment.

The remaining construction on the 2.3 mile-long Portal North Bridge Project will proceed upon the U.S. Department of Transportation’s approval of the funding application submitted by NJ TRANSIT through the Core Capacity program last year.  The new bridge will increase NJ TRANSIT capacity by 10 percent and allow trains to move faster and more reliably over the Hackensack River.  A contractor outreach event will be held in the Spring.

In the spring of 2018, the NJ TRANSIT board of directors approved a financing agreement with the New Jersey Economic Development Authority which provides up to $600 million toward the construction of a new Portal Bridge. This commitment solidified New Jersey’s local share of the project cost.

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