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NJ Commits $600M to Portal Bridge Replacement

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

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As part of the larger Gateway Project, the New Jersey Transit board of directors recently approved $600 million in funding for the replacement of the Portal Bridge, a 108-year-old swing bridge that spans the Hackensack River.

If the bridge gets stuck, trains do not have an alternate route for crossing the river. Currently, the span carries roughly 450 trains per day as part of Amtrak's Northeast Corridor.

Bridge Replacement

According to NJBIZ, the bonds will be repaid over a 30-year term from the New Jersey Transportation Trust Fund. NJ Transit estimated that the new bridge will allow for a 10 percent increase in peak hour passenger capacity.

Jim.henderson, CC-Zero, via Wikimedia Commons

As part of the larger Gateway Project, the New Jersey Transit board of directors recently approved $600 million in funding for the replacement of the Portal Bridge, a 108-year-old swing bridge that spans the Hackensack River.

“This funding is proof that Governor Murphy, NJ Transit and the state of New Jersey are firmly committed to advancing this vital transportation infrastructure project,” said NJ Transit executive director Kevin Corbett. “A better tomorrow for NJ Transit starts today. Our customers have suffered far too long from the outdated, unreliable Portal Bridge. A new bridge can’t wait any longer.”

The $1.5 billion two-track replacement span, known as Portal North Bridge, is designed as a high-level, fixed-span bridge, which eliminates the malfunctions of movable components that have often bottlenecked train traffic. Partners include the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Amtrak and the U.S. Department of Transportation.

In October 2017, a mock groundbreaking was staged for the bridge replacement, highlighting the fact that plans for the project were set to move forward.

The promise of more funding from the state may move the Federal Transit Administration to commit more funds to the project as well; in March, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao said President Donald J. Trump was reluctant to fund the Gateway Project if New Jersey and New York didn't have more "skin in the game."

Another bridge—the two-track Portal South Bridge span—has also been proposed as part of the Gateway Project. The addition will double train capacity along its respective length of the Northeast Corridor. The plan and design for the south bridge will be finalized when the federal NEC Future study and environmental review process are both completed.

The Gateway Project also includes adding a rail tunnel between New Jersey and New York under the Hudson River. The total cost is estimated at more than $20 billion.


Tagged categories: Infrastructure; Infrastructure; NA; North America; Program/Project Management; Project Management; Rail; Transportation

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