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With a Delivery Partner Selected, Hudson Tunnel Project Moving Into ‘High Gear’

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
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MPA Delivery Partners, a joint venture of Parsons Corporation, Arcadis of New York, Inc., and Mace North America Limited, will serve as Delivery Partner for the $16 billion Hudson Tunnel Project, the Gateway Development Commission (GDC) announced Feb. 28.

The Hudson Tunnel Project includes construction of a two-tube, 2.4-mile-long tunnel, as well as repairing Amtrak’s existing North River Tunnel, which opened in 1910 and was damaged during Hurricane Sandy in 2012. The busiest rail connection between New York, New Jersey, and the Northeast Corridor, the Hudson Tunnel Project is slated to improve capacity, reliability, and resiliency of commuter and intercity rail transit serving 800,000 daily passengers from Washington, D.C., to New York and New England. The project is part of the larger Gateway Program, whose goal is to bring the Northeast Corridor to a state of good repair and double track capacity between Newark, N.J., and New York City, among other projects.

While GDC will maintain oversight over all elements of the project, MPA Delivery Partners will provide project management support in key areas, including interface risk management, cost and schedule assurance, safety and quality management, and innovation and value engineering. The joint venture will also provide construction management support in the form of field management and safety; quality and compliance support; and coordinate among all stakeholders, contractors, and consultants to ensure that GDC requirements are met.

According to GDC, the Delivery Partner model “has a proven track record” internationally; it has enabled public agencies, such as Metrolinx in Ontario, “to successfully deliver large-scale infrastructure projects,” and was used to deliver the 2012 London Olympics development and legacy works “ahead of schedule and under budget.”

As the procuring entity acting on GDC’s behalf, Amtrak initiated a publicly advertised bidding process in December 2022 to select a Delivery Partner. Proposals submitted by three qualified teams were reviewed by representatives from GDC, the state of New York, New Jersey Transit, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and Amtrak. Following a competitive evaluation process, MPA Delivery Partners was selected over the joint venture of Bechtel-HNTB and the Hudson Delivery Partnership (Atkins North America, Inc., Arup US Inc., The McKissack Group, Inc.).

GDC said that by selecting a Delivery Partner, it has “significantly expanded its financial, compliance, and technical capacity” to manage and deliver the project, making it “well-positioned” to finalize a Full-Funding Grant Agreement for up to $6.88 billion with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) this year through the Capital Investment Grants (CIG) Program. GDC last July announced that the project had entered the Engineering Phase of the CIG) Program.

“The Delivery Partner will be the arms and legs that enable GDC to continue to move this project in high gear as we prepare for heavy construction to start,” said Alicia Glen, New York GDC Commissioner and Co-Chair; Balpreet Grewal-Virk, New Jersey GDC Commissioner and Co-Chair; and Tony Coscia, GDC Amtrak Commissioner and Vice Chair, in a joint statement. “With more major contract awards coming down the pike this year, getting the Delivery Partner on board ensures we have the strongest and most agile team possible at the ready.”

GDC CEO Kris Kolluri said, “From the beginning, GDC has had an open line of communication with the private sector. By joining forces with a Delivery Partner today [Feb. 28], we are tapping into industry talent, resources, and expertise that will make the Hudson Tunnel Project a leader in effective mega-project delivery.”

“We are proud to support GDC’s use of this innovative Delivery Partner model to help us build the vital Hudson Tunnel Project,” Amtrak CEO Stephen Gardner said. “GDC’s partnership with MPA Delivery Partners will leverage the skills and experience of these seasoned private-sector firms and will ensure GDC has the capabilities to successfully build this critical asset that will transform passenger rail in New Jersey, New York, and the Northeast Corridor.”  

“The Hudson Tunnel Project is a critical, once-in-a-generation project that will embody the excellence of our nation’s future infrastructure,” said Mark Fialkowski, North America Infrastructure President for Parsons. “We look forward to partnering with the Gateway Development Commission on unlocking the full economic and societal potential of the Hudson Tunnel Project.”

“From our experience bringing complex mega-projects to life around the world, we know the delivery partner model will provide the collaborative approach and certainty required for a program of this scale,” Mace Group Deputy CEO Jason Millett said.

“The Gateway Hudson Tunnel will be a model of resilient infrastructure to future-proof safe and sustainable travel along the nation’s most economically vital corridor,” Arcadis Global President of Mobility Greg Steele said. “Arcadis is proud to bring our extensive tunneling, rail, and transit expertise to support the Gateway Development Commission to facilitate the urgent delivery of this megaproject that will improve quality of life for communities that live and work in New York, New Jersey, and beyond.”

GDC last fall awarded two contracts for construction and construction management services on the Tonnelle Avenue Bridge and Utility Relocation Project, what it called “a critical early work package” for the Hudson Tunnel Project, and “the first construction on the project in New Jersey.” Naik Consulting Group, P.C. is providing construction management and related technical services; Conti Civil, LLC is responsible for construction. The project involves utilities relocation and a new roadway bridge for Tonnelle Avenue in North Bergen, N.J. The new roadway bridge will be located immediately above a new future railroad right-of-way, and will allow for a connection to the new tunnel portal at the western slope of the New Jersey Palisades. It will also provide construction access between the staging sites on either side of Tonnelle Avenue.

Additionally, in November, the Hudson Tunnel Project was awarded up to $3 billion by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) through the Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail Program. The funding will be used for systems and fit-out work. This includes final design and construction of the Hudson River Tunnel and rehabilitation of the existing North River tunnels. Work will include installation of track, signals, traction power, ventilation, fire and life safety systems, and other necessary systems in the new tunnel. As matching funds, GDC is providing approximately $950 million as part of a financing package through U.S. Department of Transportation’s Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) loan program. For the larger Hudson Tunnel Project, FRA said it was committing an additional $912 million through Amtrak. USDOT has provided $25 million through the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) program, and GDC will provide additional RRIF funds as part of the financing package.

View this Hudson Tunnel Project animation:

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