Final engineering and design work will begin on a pair of
new bridges over the Hackensack River that will increase capacity, flexibility
and reliability for rail customers traveling into and out of New York.
Under a contract amendment approved today by the NJ TRANSIT
Board of Directors, the corporation 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
"This project will provide an essential upgrade to our core
capacity and positions NJ TRANSIT to efficiently accommodate growing ridership
for decades to come," said NJ TRANSIT Chairman and Transportation Commissioner
The new bridges will offer five tracks - three more than the
current bridge - providing the capacity 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.
"The current bridge is functionally obsolete and expensive
to maintain," said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director Richard Sarles. "This
project will eliminate a chokepoint for hundreds of trains and thousands of
customers each day."
About 350 NJ TRANSIT trains operate across Portal Bridge
each day, carrying about 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.
Construction of early action items, such as utility
relocation, is expected to start by mid 2010, with some heavy project
construction including access roads, platforms and piers to start in the
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.
FIRST TUNNELING CONTRACT AWARDED FOR MASS TRANSIT TUNNEL
The NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors today approved the first
major tunneling contract for the $8.7 billion Mass Transit Tunnel, the nation's
largest public transit project that will double commuter rail capacity between
New Jersey and New York.
The board authorized the award of a $583 million contract to
a joint venture of Barnard of New Jersey and Judlau Contracting Inc. of College
Point, N.Y., the lowest of three bidders. The contract covers
construction of one of the project's three tunnel segments, a mile-long segment
"By improving this critical transportation corridor, we are
ensuring that our tunnels remain a source of economic strength and mobility for
New Jersey and the region," said Governor Jon S. Corzine. "This contract
will provide an immediate boost to our economy with the Manhattan and Palisades
tunnel segments expected to generate approximately 1,000 jobs and the Mass
Transit Tunnel project as a whole creating many more jobs over the next several
NJ TRANSIT expects to receive bids for the Palisades tunnel
segment within weeks, followed by the third and final Hudson River
The Manhattan tunnel segment is part of an overall project
to build two new single-track commuter rail tunnels under the Hudson River,
doubling capacity of the two-track tunnel that was built 100 years ago, which
today operates at its functional capacity. The other main feature of the
project is construction of an expanded New York Penn Station specially designed
to handle the customer surges associated with a commuter railroad.
"This project positions NJ TRANSIT to respond effectively to
the demands of New Jersey residents for 21st-century transportation options
that decrease our reliance on fossil fuel while improving the environment,"
said Transportation Commissioner and NJ TRANSIT Chairman Stephen Dilts.
The project is being built by NJ TRANSIT in partnership with
the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey.
"This is a major project that helps ensure we have the
capacity to meet the growing demand for public transportation," said NJ TRANSIT
Executive Director Richard Sarles. "It benefits residents throughout New
Jersey by creating operational flexibility system-wide, as well as
opportunities for convenient, one-seat rides to and from New York for customers
on ten of our 12 commuter rail lines."
The additional commuter rail capacity provided by the new
tunnel will remove an estimated 22,000 vehicles from regional roadways each
The project is expected to generate and sustain 6,000 jobs
annually in peak construction years and create 44,000 permanent jobs after
The Manhattan tunnels segment will be constructed under a
design-build contract that includes final design and construction of rail
tunnels that will extend a distance of approximately one mile from a shaft at
Twelfth Avenue and 28th Street in Manhattan.
Construction will begin early next year, and is expected to
continue through late 2013.
The contractor will construct a 160-foot diameter access
shaft on the western edge of Manhattan, and then bore 16,500 feet of tunnels
averaging more than 120 feet beneath the surface to a new expansion of Penn
Station under 34th Street between Eighth and Sixth avenues.
The twin tunnels will be located an average of 120 feet below
street level and will proceed diagonally northeast then eastward and split into
four tunnels to maximize train movements in and out of the expanded New York
Penn Station as the tunnels approach 34th Street.
The contractor will perform the excavation using two tunnel
boring machines (TBM's), massive equipment units that cut through rock and
other material to form tunnels that are each about 27 feet in diameter. The
total length of the TBM-bored tunnels included in this contract segment is
The Mass Transit Tunnel will double service capacity to 48
trains per hour during peak periods from the current 23 trains. Twice as
many passengers will be able to be accommodated, from 46,000 each morning peak
period now to 90,000 in the future. The project also will also create
transfer-free, one-seat rides for travelers on 10 of NJ TRANSIT's 12 rail
The Port Authority is contributing $3 billion toward the
Mass Transit Tunnel project cost, while the federal government will contribute
$3 billion under its "New Starts" transit funding program. Another $2.7
billion will come from a combination of other federal funds, including stimulus
and clean air funding, as well as the New Jersey Turnpike Authority's congestion
NJ TRANSIT BOARD ADVANCES SOUTH JERSEY TRANSPORTATION
The NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors today advanced several key
South Jersey transportation initiatives, including a study to evaluate
improvements to the Atlantic City Rail Line and an agreement with the Delaware
River Port Authority (DRPA) that will provide funding for a study of the
proposed extension of light rail to Glassboro.
In addition, NJ TRANSIT is taking the lead on a
Gloucester-Camden-area Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) study to examine the congested
corridor southeast of Camden along routes 55, 42 and 676. The agency is
also partnering with the DRPA for the design and construction of a new NJ
TRANSIT bus loading area across from the Walter Rand Transportation Center.
"Today's Board actions advance transit initiatives involving
all three NJ TRANSIT travel modes in southern New Jersey," said NJ TRANSIT
Executive Director Richard Sarles. "We are pleased to work with the
Delaware River Port Authority to improve access to public transportation in
Atlantic City Rail Line Operations Analysis Study
The Board authorized a $735,000 contract with LTK
Engineering Services of New York, NY, for a study to identify Atlantic City
Rail Line infrastructure improvements to accommodate potential service
expansions in the future.
Today, the Atlantic City Rail Line is primarily a
single-track railroad with a limited number of passing tracks. The study
will look at the impact to the line and infrastructure needs resulting from
increased service frequency, faster trip times and additional stations.
Among the items to be evaluated are the projected ridership
impact of the opening of the Pennsauken Transit Center and proposals for new
stations in Woodcrest and at the Atlantic City Airport.
Camden-Glassboro Light Rail Agreement
Another item advanced by the Board today will provide for
the funding of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for a proposed light
rail system between Camden and Glassboro. The Board authorized an
agreement with the DRPA, by which NJ TRANSIT will fund up to $8,954,000 for the
preparation of the EIS.
In May 2009, the DRPA recommended that diesel light rail
service be advanced from Camden to Glassboro within the existing Conrail
right-of-way. The light rail system would serve 13 new stations between
the Walter Rand Transportation Center in Camden and downtown Glassboro.
Gloucester-Camden Bus Rapid Transit
Today the Board also authorized a $750,000 contract with
AECOM USA, Inc. of Newark, NJ, for a study to evaluate bus service improvements
along the congested Route 55/42/676 highway corridor that connects suburban
Gloucester and Camden counties with the City of Camden and Philadelphia.
The study will identify and evaluate a range of capital and
operating bus improvement options, including BRT, to improve the quality and
reliability of bus service in an area that is subject to significant traffic
congestion and delays during peak periods. BRT relies on a combination of
strategies to improve service, including the use of dedicated bus lanes and
traffic signal prioritization technology.
This study and the Atlantic City Rail Line Operations
Analysis study are part of a broader evaluation of transportation improvements
advanced by the DRPA in 2008.
Walter Rand Transportation Center Bus Loading Area
Under a second agreement with the DRPA authorized by the
Board, the DRPA will fund $3 million for the design and construction of a loading
area for NJ TRANSIT buses at the Walter Rand Transportation Center in Camden.
As part of the project, NJ TRANSIT will design and construct
a new bus loading area with a canopy, lighting, closed-circuit cameras, public
address system and signage. The project also includes repaving and
streetscape improvements on Broadway and the adjacent plaza areas.
The project will enhance pedestrian convenience and safety,
improve bus circulation and allow for more efficient boarding and alighting of
buses. It will also improve connectivity for customers transferring
between buses, the River Line and the PATCO High-Speed Line operated by the
Acting swiftly to address
the issues raised in David D'Allesandro's review of the MBTA, the Authority executed
a contract with one of the transit industry's most respected safety and
security consulting firms. Transportation Resource Associates (TRA) will perform
an independent assessment of the MBTA's evaluation and prioritization of
capital projects, with a focus on safety issues. Philadelphia-based TRA has
been providing expertise and solutions to transit agencies throughout North
America for nearly 20 years.
Capital Metro, embroiled
in a contract and insurance dispute with rail contractor Veolia Transportation,
on Dec. 9 cancelled its five-year contract with the company to operate freight
and passenger rail, the Austin, Texas, American-Statesman reports.
The Finger Lakes Railway
may be able to help settle the issue of trucks hauling trash from the New York
metropolitan area through the Finger Lakes to the private Seneca Meadows
landfill in the town of Seneca Falls, N.Y., The Syracuse Post-Standard reports.
Railway President Mike Smith said his Geneva-based company has already been
talking with the landfill and Seneca County officials about building a rail
line to the landfill to deliver trash to Seneca Meadows. "It's a good business
opportunity," Smith said.