Susquehanna River Bridge, Havre de Grace, Maryland. Photo courtesy of Joseph A via Flickr.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) awarded $22 million for the Maryland Department of Transportation to complete preliminary engineering and environmental work for replacement and expansion of the Susquehanna River Bridge on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor (NEC) that stretches from Boston to Washington, D.C.
The 105 year-old Susquehanna River Bridge is a major rail chokepoint for passengers traveling along the NEC and requires significant and constant maintenance. Replacement and expansion of the bridge is a key component to the region’s long term plans to drastically expand capacity and improve reliability and on-time performance for high-speed and regional trains.
The NEC is Amtrak’s most heavily traveled route, servicing both the high-speed Acela and Northeast Regional services and carried more than 10 million passengers in 2010 with an expected increase of approximately six percent in 2011.
Last month, the U.S. DOT announced the NEC received $449.94 million to upgrade electrical systems and tracks between Trenton, N.J. and New York City, with an initial increase in top operating speeds up to 160 mph and future maximum speeds of 186 mph. Another $294.78 million for New York’s HAROLD Interlocking will alleviate major delays for trains coming in and out of Manhattan with new routes that allow Amtrak trains to bypass the busiest passenger rail junction in the nation.