Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Amtrak awards Empire Corridor contract work

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Amtrak has awarded engineering company Michael Baker Jr., Inc. a $4.2 million contract for construction management and inspection services involving several projects on its Empire Corridor in New York State.

"We are extremely pleased to be performing this construction services contract for our longstanding client, Amtrak, in close coordination with NYSDOT and {Albany area] Capital District Transit Authority," said Michael Brescia, P.E., principle-in-charge for Michael Baker, in a statement issued Tuesday, April 8, 2014. "This program, comprised of five projects, is vital to Albany's regional mobility and represents the most significant capital rail improvement in over 20 years."

The company will oversee work involving double-track installation on the Empire Corridor between Albany/Rensselaer and Schenectady, N.Y., a longstanding bottleneck to Amtrak service. Other projects involve include a platform extension and fourth track at Albany/Rensselaer Station, communications and signal upgrades between Albany/Rensselaer and Poughkeepsie, N.Y., and grade crossing upgrades.

Most of the work involves 85-miles of right-of-way over which Amtrak assumed control in December 2012, leasing the property on a long-term basis from CSX Corp. and assuming dispatching duties from its control center in New York. 

Amtrak already owned a short stretch of the Empire Corridor in Manhattan, running from Penn Station to the Spuyten Duyvil swing bridge linking Manhattan and the Bronx by rail, where the route merges with Metro-North Railroad's Hudson Line. Metro-North controls the right-of-way between the bridge and Poughkeepsie, where Amtrak oversight now begins.

Amtrak also already controlled the single-track route linking Albany/Rensselaer and Schenectady but has lacked funding commitments to upgrade it, while also controlling a 9-mile stretch of right-of-way west of Schenectady to Hoffmans, N.Y., where its Empire Service trains and two long-distance trains merge onto CSX right-of-way. Amtrak's Empire Service links New York and Albany with Buffalo and Niagara Falls, N.Y., though the route offers more service between New York and Schenectady. 

Michael Baker Jr. Inc. is a subsidiary of Township, Pa.-based Michael Baker International, LLC.