Amtrak Launches Procurement for Sawtooth Bridges Replacement Project

Written by Jennifer McLawhorn, Managing Editor
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Amtrak announced it launched the procurement process for the Sawtooth Bridges Replacement Project.
Courtesy of Amtrak

KEARNY, NJ – Amtrak announced it launched the procurement process for the Sawtooth Bridges Replacement Project.

Amtrak announced it launched the procurement process for the Sawtooth Bridges Replacement Project. As part of the Gateway Program “to preserve and expand the busiest section of the Northeast Corridor (NEC),” the project will allow more trains to travel through at increased speeds. The procurement process started with the publication of Advance Notices on Amtrak’s Procurement portal, and Amtrak “intends to use the innovative CMAR approach to deliver the project and expects to issue two Requests for Qualifications in the near future – one for the CMAR contract and another for the project, program and construction management contract.” In 2024, there will be a formal Request for Proposals. Those interested in bidding can continue to monitor Amtrak’s Procurement Portal.

The Sawtooth Bridges are owned by Amtrak and carry more than 400 Amtrak and NJ TRANSIT trains daily. Once the project is complete, the “new four-track NEC structure will double track capacity in one of the most congested and complex locations on the NEC where these different services all come together. The age and current condition of the Sawtooth Bridges also restrict trains to speeds of 60 mph.”

According to the press release, the FRA awarded $133.32 million in grant funding toward the project to support early construction, “along with 24 other projects totaling more than $16.4 billion of federal investment” across the NEC. This will “modernize and expand 1.9 miles of the NEC in Kearny, New Jersey, built in 1907.”

“This work will be performed under a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) as part of a 2021 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Amtrak and North America’s Building Trades Unions covering Amtrak’s major civil engineering projects. 

“The Sawtooth Bridges Replacement Project is one of several major infrastructure projects being planned and delivered by Amtrak’s Capital Delivery organization under the leadership of Executive Vice President, Capital Delivery Laura Mason. In September, Amtrak awarded its first-ever CMAR contract to advance construction for the Frederick Douglass Tunnel Program in Maryland. Active procurements are also underway for the East River Tunnel Rehabilitation Project, Connecticut River Bridge Project, major fleet facility upgrades and more. Additional procurement opportunities for other projects will be announced over the next several months.”

Amtrak CEO Stephen Gardner commented: “Building the new Sawtooth Bridges requires significant coordination with our partners at NJ TRANSIT, PATH, and Contrail and we are grateful for their shared commitment to modernize and bring this critical stretch of the NEC to a state of good repair. . . We appreciate the Biden Administration, Governor Murphy and Congress for providing and helping to unlock the IIJA funding that makes this work possible.”

Amit Bose, FRA Administrator, said: “The Federal Railroad Administration is pleased to see progress being made on the new Sawtooth Bridges, and we’re proud to support a project that will eliminate a major bottleneck on America’s busiest rail corridor. Replacing and expanding the Sawtooth Bridges is one of nearly 220 FRA-funded rail projects moving forward since the start of the Biden-Harris Administration. Through President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, we’re going to advance several more projects of national significance along the Northeast Corridor (NEC), notably through $16.4 billion in new NEC grants announced earlier this month that will modernize NEC infrastructure and help deliver world-class passenger rail to more Americans.” 

NJ Transit President & CEO and co-Chair of the Northeast Corridor Commission Kevin S. Corbett said: “NJ TRANSIT’s collaboration with Amtrak on the Sawtooth Bridges Replacement Project is a key component in advancing the overall Gateway Program. Together with NJ TRANSIT’s Portal North Bridge Replacement Project, we are eliminating century-old bottlenecks in the busiest section of the Northeast Corridor. We look forward to working with our partners at Amtrak to continue to improve the reliability and customer experience for New Jersey commuters.” 

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