NJ TRANSIT’s Board of Directors has entered into an early action contract to begin preliminary work on the replacement of the Portal Bridge North on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor. The contract was awarded to PKF-Mark III Inc. for the amount of $14.5 million, plus five percent for contingencies, subject to the availability of funds.
The Portal Bridge is a two-track movable swing span railroad bridge over the Hackensack River between Kearny and Secaucus and was constructed more than a century ago. The bridge, owned by Amtrak, has caused delays due to bridge failures, maintenance and reduced operational speeds.
“The Board of Directors has chosen to enter into an early action contract with a vendor to help move the Portal Bridge North project to the next milestone,’’ said Steven H. Santoro, NJ TRANSIT executive director. “This is a critical step forward in improving service reliability for NJ TRANSIT and Amtrak customers along the heavily traveled Northeast Corridor.’’
The project includes the realignment of a 138kV transmission pole, the installation of new fiber optic cable poles, the construction of a construction access structure known as a finger pier, the construction of a steel bridge structure over the Jersey City Municipal Utility Authority water main, and the construction of a retaining wall just west of the Frank R. Lautenberg Station at Secaucus Junction.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) awarded $16 million under the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Discretionary Grant program for the project. It will be matched with $4 million from the Transportation Trust Fund, which will be used to support the Early Action Construction work. The Gateway Program Development Corporation has been established to guide the project to completion.
“The award of this contract is an important milestone for the replacement of the existing Portal Bridge, a key part of the Gateway Program’s first phase,” remarked Gateway Program Development Corporation Trustee Rich Bagger. “The New Jersey/NJ TRANSIT commitment to advancing this early work will ensure that the Gateway Program stays on track to reach our goal of delivering much needed improvements to the commuters and travelers along the Northeast Corridor.”
The Federal Railroad Administration has approved a project to replace the existing bridge and expand capacity in the Corridor by constructing a new parallel span north of the existing structure. The two-track replacement bridge is designed as a high-level fixed span bridge eliminating the movable component. Work should begin in July and is expected to be completed by the first-quarter of 2019.