Amtrak completed its three-year Niantic River Bridge Replacement Project, providing improved operational reliability for rail passengers along the Northeast Corridor with increased train speeds, less disruption to the boating community and expanded beach access to area residents.
The original span was built in 1907. The new bridge continues to serve as a key link for passenger and freight rail traffic between New York and Boston, carrying 54 trains daily (38 Amtrak intercity trains, 2 freight trains and 14 commuter trains).
“The replacement of the Niantic Bridge is a positive step in modernizing and enhancing critical rail infrastructure along the Northeast Corridor that supports the regional economy,” said Amtrak President/CEO Joe Boardman.
The work involved the construction of a new two-track electrified movable bascule bridge across the Niantic River, 58 feet south of its previous location between East Lyme and Waterford, Conn., realignment of the track along west and east approaches to the bridge, track embankment construction, scour protection, new retaining walls, and the creation of new electrification and signaling systems.
The boating community is also benefiting from the project. The new bridge is constructed with broader channel access for maritime traffic from 45 feet to 100 feet and raises the vertical under clearance above the water from 11.5 feet to 16 feet.
Also, Amtrak rebuilt the Niantic Bay Boardwalk, replenished the beach with 76,000 cubic yards of sand and nearly doubled the number of parking spaces at Cini Park in East Lyme, Conn., to 127 spaces, increasing public beach access. The refurbished beach and boardwalk re-opened to the public in early June in time for the summer season.