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Mock Groundbreaking Staged for Portal Bridge

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

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On Friday (Oct. 13), officials participated in a mock groundbreaking that indicates the plans for the replacement of a 107-year-old rail bridge will be moving forward, but funding for the endeavor has yet to be secured.

The North Portal Bridge, which crosses the Hackensack River from New Jersey into New York, opens to let boats and other water traffic through, but fails to close 15 percent of the time, noted CBS New York.

This kind of issue is symptomatic of a larger problem: The rail bridge, as well as some of the associated infrastructure, has aged well past its useful lifespan.

"We inherited a system that's way beyond its useful life," Amtrak Chairman Anthony Coscia told North Jersey. "There's no other way to look at it."

The Project

On Friday, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie joined leaders from Amtrak, NJ Transit, the state’s congressional delegation and officials from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey at the site of the current Portal Bridge, which has become a significant bottleneck on one of the nation’s busiest commuter routes.

During the ceremony, officials spoke on the multi-year process that led up to this point, but also went on to emphasize that completing the new rail bridge could still take decades and billions of dollars.

"Lots of things have to fall into place to make this work," said Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J. "It's almost like you just pulled off a perfect-10 in the Olympics, and now somebody tells you, 'You have to do 100 more of the exact same thing.'"

Bridge replacement is slated to cost $1.5 billion, and the first $20 million has been secured for the first part of the replacement, noted CBS New York. The new bridge will also be high enough to allow for river traffic, without needing to open.

Preliminary construction is underway, which includes the installation of new fiber optic cable poles and a retaining wall.


Tagged categories: Bridges; Construction; Infrastructure; NA; North America; Program/Project Management

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