NJ Transit awards prep work contract for Portal Bridge Project

Written by Railway Age Staff

NJ Transit's Board of Directors authorized a vote to enter into an early action contract with PKF-Mark III Inc., of Newtown, Pa., for preparatory construction ahead of the replacement of the Portal bridge, a key link in the Northeast Corridor rail route.

NJ Transit says the vote is “another step toward improving service reliability on the Northeast Corridor by moving forward with the Portal Bridge North Project.

The contract is worth $14.5 million, plus 5% for contingencies, subject to the availability of funds.

“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 NJ Transit Executive Director Steven H. Santoro. “This is a critical step forward in improving service reliability for NJ Transit and Amtrak customers along the heavily traveled Northeast Corridor.”

The Early Action Construction project includes the realignment of a 138kV transmission pole; the installation of new fiber optic cable poles; the building 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.

Built in 1910 by the Pennsylvania Railroad to provide access to Manhattan’s Penn Station, the 961-foot Portal Bridge is a two-track movable swing span over the Hackensack River between Kearny and Secaucus in Hudson County. The bridge carries as many as 200,000 passengers each day between New York and New Jersey. Owned by Amtrak, the bridge is a critical link on the Northeast Corridor. Delays due to bridge failures, maintenance and reduced operational speeds have made replacement critical to maintaining and improving passenger rail service into Manhattan. 

The Federal Railroad Administration has approved a project to both 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, known as Portal Bridge North, is designed as a high-level fixed span bridge eliminating the movable component and risk of malfunction.

NJ Transit says the project will greatly improve service reliability for NJT and Amtrak trains and hopes the Early Action construction phase will support the acceleration of the Portal Bridge North construction schedule. Work is expected to begin in July and is anticipated to be completed by the first-quarter of 2019.

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