In a long-awaited piece of news for New Jersey Transit riders, Gov. Phil Murphy and NJ Transit announced the issuance of a “Notice to Proceed” on the $1.5 billion Portal North Bridge project.
The current bridge is an aging, but vital stretch of rail for commuters into and out of New York City, which adds to the urgency of construction. The Portal North Bridge project spans 2.44 miles of the Northeast Corridor line. The Notice to Proceed signifies the start of the construction contract.
The project, part of the larger Gateway Program, is expected to improve capacity and reliability for rail travel between New Jersey and New York City.
“From day one of my Administration, we have prioritized investments in environmentally friendly mass transit. After years of crucial behind the scenes work, this notice to proceed means train customers will soon see the tangible evidence of our commitment to modernizing the rail system,” Murphy said. “Today’s announcement is another testament to our partners in the Biden Administration, NJ TRANSIT, the U.S. Department of Transportation, our federal delegation, and Amtrak for continuing to prioritize this vital project.”
Funding is being provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation, NJ Transit, and Amtrak. Murphy announced the securing of $766.5 million in Federal Transit Administration funding during the signing of a Full Funding Grant Agreement.
“NJ TRANSIT is proud to be advancing this project of national significance,” said Kevin Corbett, the rail agency’s president and CEO. “I would like to thank Governor Murphy, and our Congressional delegation for prioritizing rail infrastructure and for their unwavering support of this critical project.”
“Because of our shared unwavering commitment, we now celebrate the start of major construction on a new Portal North Bridge – the first of the Gateway Program projects to reach this milestone,” said Amtrak Board Chairman Tony Coscia. “The new bridge rising over the Hackensack River will be a visible reminder to Northeast Corridor passengers that a new day is dawning for rail travel in America – safer, faster and more reliable.”
In October, Murphy and NJ Transit approved a $1.5 billion construction contract awarded to Skanska/Traylor Bros PNB Joint Venture. It is the single largest construction contract awarded in the rail operator’s history.
The old Portal North Bridge will be replaced with a new modern two-track, fixed-span bridge. The new project will rise 50 feet over the Hackensack River and allow marine traffic to pass underneath without interrupting rail traffic.
The project is estimated to take five and a half years to complete.