Under a contract amendment approved on Wednesday by the NJ Transit board of directors, the agency is advancing toward construction of the Portal Bridge Capacity Enhancement project, a crucial link between Kearny and Secaucus on the Northeast Corridor that will replace the 99-year-old Portal Bridge. The board also authorized a contract for construction management services.
The new bridges will offer five tracks – three more than the current bridge – providing the ability to take full advantage of the additional capacity into and out of New York that the Mass Transit Tunnel project will create. The complementary bridge and tunnel projects will eliminate two bottlenecks for NJ Transit and Amtrak customers.
In addition, the new fixed bridges will provide greater reliability by eliminating the need for a movable span. The new bridges will be built high enough above the river – 50 feet above mean high water – to allow ships to pass underneath with none of the bridge opening and closing operations that create delays for rail customers.
About 350 NJ Transit trains operate across Portal Bridge each day, carrying approximately 150,000 customers. Another 30,000 Amtrak customers cross the bridge each day. Amtrak owns the bridge and is working jointly with NJ Transit on the replacement project.
The board authorized a $69.7 million amendment to an existing contract with Portal Partners Inc. of Audubon, Pa., for final engineering and design and an $18 million contract to AECOM-STV joint venture for construction management consultant services.
A contract with Portal Partners Inc. for final engineering for early action components was approved by the board in July, 2009.
The entire project, estimated to cost about $1.7 billion, is expected to be completed in 2017. A combination of state and federal sources is expected to provide funding.