The Federal Railroad Administration released an Environmental Assessment on Wednesday for the Sawtooth Bridge Replacement Project in New Jersey, advancing a key Gateway Program project that will increase capacity and reliability for Amtrak passengers and New Jersey Transit commuters on the Northeast Corridor.
The Environmental Assessment will be available for a 30-day public review and comment period, after which Federal Railroad Administration will release a final agency decision.
New Jersey Transit President and Chief Executive Officer Kevin Corbett and Amtrak Chief Operating and Commercial Officer Stephen Gardner issued the following statement:
“Amtrak and NJ Transit applaud the U.S. Department of Transportation for publishing the Environmental Assessment for replacement of the Sawtooth Bridges. The Sawtooth Bridges carry the Northeast Corridor over PATH and Conrail tracks as well as NJ Transit’s busy Morris and Essex Line to Hoboken. These critical spans were built in 1907 and are in urgent need of replacement and expansion, which will increase reliability and ultimately assist in eliminating a major bottleneck in the busiest section of the Northeast Corridor. We appreciate the ongoing support of our elected leaders and look forward to continuing our work with USDOT [United States Department of Transportation] and all stakeholders to move this important project forward.”
The nonprofit Gateway Development Corp. is leading a $14.3 billion-plus infrastructure project to replace the 110-year-old Hudson River rail tunnels, the 110-year-old Portal Bridge that spans the Hackensack River between Secaucus and Kearny, and the Sawtooth Bridge.
The existing Portal North Bridge is 110 years old, badly in need of repair, and a major source of delays for New Jersey Transit and Amtrak trains that run between New Jersey and New York. According to the USDOT, trains crossing the bridge must slow down due to its weak structural integrity, and when it opens to allow boats to pass it sometimes fails to close, disrupting rail traffic between Boston and Washington, D.C.