Morristown, NJ

NJ Transit Begins Construction on Portal North Bridge

Morristown Minute

“Portal North Bridge and Larger Gateway Program Will Significantly Improve Customer Experience for Millions of Customers Annually”

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April 7, 2022 - Governor Phil Murphy and NJ TRANSIT today announced the issuance of the “Notice to Proceed” on the new Portal North Bridge project.

The bridge, which is part of the larger Gateway Program, will improve the capacity and reliability of 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 tangible evidence of our commitment to modernizing the rail system,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “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.”

The project is being funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation, NJ TRANSIT, and Amtrak. In January 2021, Governor Murphy announced the signing of a Full Funding Grant Agreement which secured $766.5 million in Federal Transit Administration funding to support the project’s construction.

“NJ TRANSIT is proud to be advancing this project of national significance,” said NJ TRANSIT President & CEO Kevin S. Corbett. “This notice to proceed means that soon construction will begin – improving reliability for the millions of customers who count on this critical rail link between New Jersey and New York every year, while creating jobs and spurring economic growth for our region.”

In October, Governor Murphy and NJ TRANSIT announced the approval of a $1,559,993,000 construction contract awarded to Skanska/Traylor Bros PNB Joint Venture (STJV) for the construction of the new Portal North Bridge. The contract represents the single largest construction award in NJ TRANSIT’s history.

"NJ TRANSIT and Amtrak are taking a vital first step in bringing the Gateway Program to life by starting construction on the Portal North Bridge,” said Gateway Development Commission Co-Chairs Balpreet Grewal-Virk and Steven M. Cohen. “The bridge will be a visible symbol of progress while it's being built and will bring a better passenger experience into and out of New York and greater reliability and resiliency on the busiest stretch of the Northeast Corridor."

The Portal North Bridge project spans 2.44 miles of the Northeast Corridor line and includes the construction of retaining walls, deep foundations, concrete piers, structural steel bridge spans, rail systems, demolition of the existing bridge, and related incidental works.

The Notice to Proceed (NTP) to STJV signifies the start of the construction contract which is anticipated to take approximately five and a half years to complete.

“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. Amtrak appreciates the tireless support of Governor Murphy, Senators Menendez and Booker and the New Jersey Congressional delegation as well as Senator Schumer, the leadership of NJ TRANSIT and our other champions in advocating for this project and securing the needed funding to make it a reality.”

The Portal North Bridge project will eliminate the 110-year-old swing bridge which has been the enduring source of major service disruptions for NJ TRANSIT and Amtrak customers traveling on the Northeast Corridor.

The old Portal North Bridge will be replaced with a new modern two-track, high-level, fixed-span bridge that will improve service and capacity along this section of the Northeast Corridor. The new Portal North Bridge will rise 50-feet over the Hackensack River and will allow marine traffic to pass underneath without interrupting rail traffic.

“This notice to proceed brings us yet another step closer to making the new Portal North Bridge a reality,” said New Jersey Department of Transportation Commissioner and NJ TRANSIT Board Chair Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti. “I would like to thank Governor Murphy, and our Congressional delegation for prioritizing rail infrastructure and for their unwavering support of this critical project.”

The Portal North Bridge project is a critical component of the larger Gateway Program which will eventually double rail capacity between Newark and New York.

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