Rail Projects in Connecticut Receive Almost $2B for Improvements

Written by Jennifer McLawhorn, Managing Editor
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Amtrak Connecticut River bridge to be replaced.

OLD SAYBROOK, Conn. – The FRA has selected 10 projects across the state of Connecticut to receive funding for “rehabilitation and modernization.”

The CTMirror has reported that the FRA has selected 10 projects across the state of Connecticut to receive funding for “rehabilitation and modernization.” Totaling almost $2 billion, the federal funds would go to repairing bridges and infrastructure along the Northeast Corridor.

Governor Ned Lamont has commented that the Northeast corridor is “the busiest rail line in the nation, and improvements here mean more jobs, continued economic growth, and improved quality of life. . . Many of our railroad bridges are more than 100 years old, and this major investment of funding ensures that trains can operate with higher speeds and fewer disruptions well into the future.”

Garrett Eucalitto, Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner, said these “grant fundings [help] address a backlog of major projects and improvements that will help improve the safety and reliability of rail service, offer operational flexibility and provide for increased capacity, speed, and efficiencies of rail transportation along the Northeast Corridor.”

Close to half of the $2 billion, $827 million to be exact, will go toward the Connecticut River Bridge. The bridge is 116 years old and is used by Amtrak and Connecticut Shore Line East and freight trains. It will be replaced with a moveable bridge “that connects Old Saybrook and Old Lyme.” Construction on the new bridge is expected to begin in 2024.

The current bridge is “structurally deficient” according to a Representative Joe Courtney, who has been pushing for funds to repair said bridge. According to the report, Courtney stated the federal grant will ensure “that the entire construction phase will be fully funded and not delayed any more by incremental piecemeal grants. . . When this new bridge is finished, rail traffic will be safer and faster, for passengers on the Northeast Corridor-Acela Express, Northeast Regional, and Shoreline East, as well as freight traffic.”

Additionally, $465 million will go toward the WALK Bridge in Norwalk as it will also be replaced. This bridge is part of Metro-North’s New Haven Line. $245 million will go toward the Devon Bridge replacement project and “another $119 million [will go toward] interim repairs until the rehabilitation begins.” 

$23.2 million will go toward the Saugatuck River Bridge for its replacement project as well. Replacing its moveable bridge in Westport will “improve safety and also allow trains to operate at maximum authorized speed.” 

$213 million will allow for “replacements of power equipment, project development of track improvements on some parts of the route and security infrastructure upgrades on the New Haven Line.” And close to $105 million will go toward expanding three sections to double tracks on the Hartford Line. This will allow for increased speed and passenger service. 

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