FRA Issues Record of Decision for the Replacement of 100 Year-Old Portal Bridge Over Hackensack River in New Jersey

WASHINGTON — The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has issued a Record of Decision for the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the Portal Bridge Capacity Enhancement Project over the Hackensack River, between Secaucus and Kearny, N.J.

The FEIS, prepared in cooperation with Amtrak and New Jersey Transit, considered four build alternatives in addition to a No Action Alternative. The FRA has decided to proceed with the alternative which includes a three-track fixed northern bridge, a two-track moveable southern bridge built on a new southern alignment, and a track over track grade separation to eliminate crossover movements.

This alternative is expected to cost $1.344 billion in 2008 dollars and take 66 months to complete. Replacing the bridge with additional tracks will result in enhanced capacity, improved service, and operational flexibility. The existing Portal Bridge is a two-track, moveable swing-span bridge that was constructed by the Pennsylvania Railroad and began operation in 1910.

The bridge, owned by Amtrak, is a bottleneck along the Northeast Corridor that conflicts with marine traffic and impedes efficient and reliable passenger rail service.

Nearly 500 trains utilize the bridge every weekday, and both Amtrak and NJ Transit anticipate additional growth in the future.

The FEIS and additional information is available on the Portal Bridge Web site.