Early construction work completed for Portal North Bridge

NEWARK, NJ — NJ Transit, with support from Amtrak, has completed an early action construction contract that included five major construction elements for the Portal North Bridge Replacement Program, according to a Feb. 22 press release from NJ Transit. This contract broke ground in October 2017 and these construction elements were completed in early February — on time and on budget.

This NJ Transit-sponsored and managed project was accomplished with the cooperation and support of the Gateway Program Development Corporation and federal partners.

“The current Portal Bridge is a frequent source of delays and frustration for our customers,” NJ Transit Executive Director Kevin Corbett said. “With the completion of this milestone on time and on budget, we eagerly await the USDOT’s approval of our funding application to maintain forward progress on this vital project. We are one step closer to improving the reliability and predictability our customers deserve as they commute to and from work, school and recreation.”

Funding for this early works project was provided through a $16 million TIGER grant awarded in September 2016 to NJ Transit, along with a local match contribution of $4 million provided by New Jersey’s Transportation Trust Fund.

The five elements of the project included: installation of new fiber optic poles to carry fiber optic cable lines, which help provide data communications and transmission services to New York City and the surrounding metropolitan area; construction of a utility protection structure to protect a century-old cast iron water main that supplies water to Jersey City; construction of a finger pier to support future construction activities; erecting two new high voltage transmission poles which carry the high voltage power lines that power trains along this section of the Northeast Corridor; and construction of a retaining wall just west of Secaucus Junction that will support the new bridge alignment.

The remaining construction on the 2.3 mile-long Portal North Bridge Project will proceed upon the U.S. Department of Transportation’s approval of the funding application submitted by NJ Transit through the Core Capacity program last year. The new bridge will increase NJ Transit capacity by 10 percent and allow trains to move faster and more reliably over the Hackensack River. A contractor outreach event will be held in the spring.

In spring 2018, the NJ Transit board of directors approved a financing agreement with the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, which provides up to $600 million toward the construction of a new Portal Bridge.