New Jersey governor Chris Christie has broken ground on the replacement of the Portal Bridge to rebuild and replace aging rail infrastructure in New Jersey.
Portal Bridge is a two-track, 110-year-old swing span structure over the Hackensack River in Kearny and Secaucus.
The $1.5bn project will include the replacement of old bridge with a north bridge and a south bridge.
The two new fixed-span bridges are to be built 53 feet above mean high water, which will more than double the height of the current bridge, allowing for higher speeds and an increase in train capacity.
Built in 1907 and owned by Amtrak, the Portal Bridge carries approximately 150,000 passengers per day on almost 400 trains. Amtrak transports nearly 16,000 passengers per day on more than 100 trains in both directions over the bridge.
Early construction contracts worth approximately $20m have been awarded to carry on with the Portal North Bridge, including construction of a finger pier, installation of new fibre optic cable poles, realignment of a transmission pole, construction of a steel bridge structure over the Jersey City Municipal Utility Authority water main, and construction of a retaining wall.
Governor Christie said: “The replacement of the aging Portal Bridge is the first step toward ensuring a sound and efficient rail transportation system that will serve millions of riders now and well into the future.
“This project is vital to our economy and the safety of millions of local commuters and people from around the world who use mass transportation along the Northeast Corridor.
“By working cooperatively with New York and federal lawmakers and officials, we hope to identify funding for this and the Hudson River tunnel projects that is fair and equitable for New Jersey taxpayers.”