Portal North Bridge Construction Updates: Project Reaches 50% Completion On Time, On Budget

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Portal North Bridge construction is now halfway complete. Officials announced on May 13 that the project had achieved the 50% completion milestone, remaining on schedule and within the allocated budget.

“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 increasing consumer capacity,” said U.S. Rep. Mikie Sherrill, D-11th District. “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.”

“With 50% of construction complete, Portal North Bridge serves as the shining example for what Amtrak and its partners can accomplish when we have the investments, partnerships, and commitment to build the new era of America’s rail infrastructure projects,” said Amtrak board Chair Tony Coscia.

The over a century old existing Portal North Bridge carries more than 29,000 daily commuters between New York and New Jersey. Its age and design have led to speed restrictions for New Jersey Transit and Amtrak trains, and its occasional malfunctions cause significant disruptions.

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After over a century of faithful service, the old swing bridge across the Hackensack River is finally being retired. In its place, crews are hard at work building a modern fixed-span replacement that will stretch for nearly 2.5 miles from Newark to Secaucus. This new Portal North Bridge will eliminate the need for trains to slow down and wait for the antiquated swing portion, helping reduce delays on one of the busiest rail corridors in the country.

The Portal Bridge project is just the first phase of the much larger Gateway Program – an ambitious $16.1 billion investment to upgrade the critical rail link between New Jersey and New York City. In addition to this new bridge, the program calls for boring a brand new two-track rail tunnel under the Hudson River to complement and eventually replace the existing century-old tunnel into Manhattan. Overseeing this Herculean effort is the bi-state Gateway Development Commission, a partnership between the two states and Amtrak.

For daily commuters stuck in the seemingly endless construction along the Northeast Corridor, the Portal Bridge replacement can’t be completed soon enough. But when it’s all said and done, a brand new high-speed rail crossing over the Hackensack will help provide a long-awaited upgrade to the outdated infrastructure currently straining to handle this region’s transit needs.

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Critics have voiced concerns about the Portal Bridge construction project

Critics raise concerns about the project’s cost and potential impact on traffic. However, proponents argue that the new bridge and tunnel will significantly improve reliability for hundreds of thousands of daily NJ Transit and Amtrak riders traveling between New Jersey and Manhattan.

“Skanska Traylor JV are incredibly excited to mark this significant milestone as we continue to advance our contribution to the creation of a new Portal North Bridge,” said Brian Reilly, vice president of Skanska and project director of the Skanska Traylor PNB joint venture. “Upon final completion, this vital passageway will vastly enhance the travel experience for the thousands of daily commuters and New Jersey residents who rely on this bridge.”

“This landmark achievement is another milestone on the path of building a modern transit infrastructure linking the entire Northeast Corridor,” said acting New Jersey Department of Transportation Commissioner and NJ Transit Board Chair Fran O’Connor. “Congratulations to the men and women on this project who have made this significant progress.”

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