The Portal North Bridge Project Marks Halfway Point

Written by Jennifer McLawhorn, Managing Editor
image description
A rendering of the future Portal North Bridge which will be much higher off the river, allowing boats to pass without having to open & close.
Gateway Program Development Corporation

KEARNY, N.J. – The Portal North Bridge is now 50% complete, according to NJ TRANSIT and Amtrak. Both NJ TRANSIT and Amtrak have marked the halfway point at a ceremony at the construction site.

When finished, the bridge will replace the current 114-year-old swing bridge, and it is a “fixed span that eliminates the need to open and close.” The project is funded through New Jersey, New York, Amtrak, and the U.S. Department of Transportation. A Full Funding Grant Agreement was signed in January 2021 and secured $766.5 million in FTA funding for the project. The bridge spans 2.44 miles of the NEC line. According to the release, the bridge will double rail capacity between Newark and New York, and the work includes constructing retaining walls, concrete piers, structural steel bridge spans, deep foundations, rail systems, and demolition of the existing bridge.

“The Portal North Bridge Project stands as a testament to collaboration towards a common goal:  Enhancing the region’s transportation network and ensuring that people can seamlessly access New Jersey, New York, and beyond by train,” said Regional Administrator of the Federal Transit Administration Michael Culotta, whose agency provided $926 million in federal grants for the project.  “The Federal Transit Administration is committed to improving transit access for everyone who uses the Northeast Corridor.  Congratulations to Governor Phil Murphy, NJ Transit President & CEO Kevin Corbett, and everyone involved in the project for reaching the halfway point.”

“The Federal Railroad Administration is excited about the progress being made on the Portal North Bridge, and we are proud to support the replacement of the current 114-year-old swing bridge, improving service for New Jersey riders and hundreds of thousands more who depend on the Northeast Corridor,” said FRA Administrator Amit Bose. “Thanks to President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, unprecedented investments are going towards improving and modernizing the Northeast Corridor, and projects of national significance are moving forward, which will allow for increased speeds, reduced travel time, and more reliable service for Americans.” 

“This landmark achievement is another milestone on the path of building a modern transit infrastructure linking the entire northeast corridor,” said Acting DOT Commissioner and NJ TRANSIT Board Chair Fran O’Connor.  “Congratulations to the men and women on this project who have made this significant progress.”

Congressman Bill Pascrell Jr. said “New Jersey’s own Bon Jovi sang about ‘being halfway there.’ But we are not living on any prayer: this new bridge is a reality! . . . The primary purpose of government is to improve the daily lives of our neighbors. When it is soon finished, this new bridge will better the lives of millions of our neighbors. Leadership matters. President Biden, Governor Murphy, our delegation in Congress, and state leaders have worked hand-in-hand and we have delivered as a team. I cannot wait to be right here to cut the ribbon to this great bridge to our state’s bright future.”

Congressman Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11) said “Portal North Bridge construction moving ahead on budget and on schedule is a testament to every stakeholder who has worked tirelessly to improve our railway network and increase commuter capacity. Investing in our infrastructure – as we did through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law – is investing in the economic potential and quality of life of families and our state as a whole. This milestone is the culmination of years of advocacy that I am proud to be a part of and I look forward to the day we ride together over the completed bridge.”

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