Posts Tagged ‘Portal North Bridge’

Portal Bridge Project Gets FTA Grant

January 13, 2021

The Federal Transit Administration has authorized New Jersey Transit to receive a $766.5 million grant for the $1.888 billion two-track, fixed-span Portal North Bridge Project.

The funding will be used to replace the 110-year-old Portal Bridge across the Hackensack River in the New Jersey Meadowlands on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor.

The Federal Highway Administration is providing $57 million toward the project, NJ Transit will contribute $811 million and Amtrak will provide $261.5 million.

The two passenger operators will share operating and maintenance costs for the bridge.

The federal money is coming from the Capital Investments Grants Program.

Officials said the start of construction is still a year away.

Portal Bridge Gets Favorable FTA Rating

February 14, 2020

The Federal Transit Agency this week gave a favorable rating to one component of the Gateway Project in the Northeast Corridor but continued to rate low the other major component.

The replacement of the Portal Bridge in New Jersey received a “medium high” rating from FTA while construction of a new tunnel between New York City and New Jersey continues to receive a “medium low” rating.

It means that the $1.8 billion bridge replacement plan can move to the engineering phase.

The bridge spans the Hackensack River and sometimes fails to lock into place after opening, which delays Amtrak and New Jersey Transit trains.

New reports have indicated that the $11 billion tunnel project continues to languish due to the assertion of the federal government that the project is not receiving enough local funding.

The “medium low” priority rating means the tunnel project continues to be ineligible for federal funds.

N.J. Senators Wants Answers from DOT Head Chao

November 12, 2019

Two New Jersey senators are demanding that Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao explain why her agency continues to slow walk its review of the Hudson River Tunnels project.

Cory Booker and Bob Menendez noted that Chao inspected the existing tunnels in April 2018 and would have seen first-hand evidence of deterioration in the tunnels, which link Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor with New York City and New Jersey.

Furthermore, the senators are upset that Chao toured the tunnels without letting them know about it.

“We would have welcomed the opportunity to join you on the tour to discuss how we could partner to advance the Gateway Project, but please know the invitations we have previously extended still stand,” the senators said in a statement.

Booker and Menendez want Chao to explain why the environmental impact statement for the Hudson River tunnel project has not yet been approved by DOT, even though a draft EIS prepared by the Federal Railroad Administration and New Jersey Transit was published in June 2017.

DOT gave the tunnel project a medium-low rating earlier this year.

The senators also noted that the Portal North Bridge project has continued to languish without DOT’s approval.

In earlier statements, DOT has called for New Jersey and New York to spend more money on the projects, calling them local projects.

Early Bridge Work Completed in New Jersey

February 27, 2019

Early construction work has been completed on a bridge in New Jersey used by Amtrak and New Jersey Transit.

In a news release, NJ Transit said that is has completed early construction work on the Portal North Bridge replacement program.

The work was funded by a $16 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant and a $4 million contribution from New Jersey’s Transportation Trust Fund.

The work included installation of new fiber optic poles, construction of a utility protection structure, construction of a finger pier to support future construction activities, installation of two high voltage transmission poles, and construction of a retaining wall west of Secaucus Junction to support the new bridge alignment.

The commuter agency said the remaining construction of the 2.3 mile-long bridge project will begin following the U.S. Department of Transportation’s approval of a funding application that NJ Transit submitted last year.

The new bridge will increase NJ Transit’s capacity by 10 percent and allow trains to move faster and more reliably over the Hackensack River.

FTA Downgrades NEC Projects

February 16, 2018

The proposed Amtrak Gateway projects in the Northeast Corridor were downgraded in importance this week by the Federal transit Administration, a move that might make receiving federal funding, more difficult.

The FTA in its annual funding recommendations report to Congress on the Capital Investment Grants program rated the Hudson Tunnel and the Portal North Bridge replacement projects as “medium-low” in priority for federal grants.

That is the second-lowest rating on a five-point scale that helps determine whether federal funding is warranted.

The FTA ratings indicate the Trump administration’s shift away from the Obama administration’s support for federal help in paying for the projects, Gateway program supporters said.

“In case it wasn’t clear before, President Trump today tried to land another death blow to Gateway, by having his Federal Transit Administration vindictively and inexplicably downgrade the project in order to cut off critical federal funding,” said U.S. Senator Robert Menendez in a statement.

Michael Friedberg, executive director of the Coalition for the Northeast Corridor said the FTA’s decision means the corridor’s stakeholders need to “raise their voices and work harder” to show the administration and Congress that the Gateway program is necessary to support the region’s economy.

The Portal North bridge is a two-track moveable swing-span structure located between Kearny and Secaucus, New Jersey, that forms a link between New Jersey and New York Penn Station.

Amtrak, New Jersey Transit and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey have agreed to fund half of the $1.5 billion cost to build the new bridge.

The Hudson Tunnel project calls for a new tunnel to be built under the Hudson River and rebuild the 106-year-old North River Tunnel, which currently has two tracks under the river between New York Penn Station and New Jersey.

The tunnel was severely damaged during Hurricane Sandy in October 2012.

Although Amtrak claims the tunnel is safe for use, emergency maintenance continues to interrupt service.