Amtrak has achieved the main focus of its project to replace the movable Niantic River Bridgein East Lyme, Conn. On the night of September 7, all rail traffic shifted to the new bridge and the existing 105-year-old bridge was removed from service.
“This is a major accomplishment in Amtrak’s effort to renew and improve Northeast Corridor infrastructure for the next century of service,” said Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman.
The new bridge is expected to allow Amtrak to provide reliable rail operation, increase in speeds on and near the bridge and minimize delays on a route that serves as a key link for passenger and freight rail service between New York and Boston.
All rail traffic shared one track over the new bascule lift bridge. The second track is scheduled to be available for use in November. Amtrak will continue to open and close the old bridge for all maritime traffic until it is fully removed next spring.
Other major work elements of this project include new track alignments for the east and west approaches to the bridge and expansion of the navigation channel beneath the bridge and an increase in the vertical under-clearance above the water to benefit river traffic. Also, sections of the Niantic Bay Overlook Boardwalk are being reconstructed and the beach replenished.
The three-year, $140 million project began in April 2010 and remains on-schedule with an estimated completion date of May 2013.