First ARC Contracts to be Advertised

NEWARK, N.J. — The ARC Mass Transit Tunnel is taking an important step toward boosting the New Jersey and regional economy this week with the advertisement of the project’s first contracts — including an underpass to be constructed beneath Tonnelle Avenue in North Bergen.

The Tonnelle Avenue underpass contract, which will be released for bids on Friday, will be the first location to go to construction in New Jersey.  The underpass will be adjacent to where the $8.7 billion project goes underground, allowing the MTT’s two new rail tracks to begin their descent under the Palisades Mountain.  That contract is expected to be awarded, and construction to begin, this spring.

In addition, the project will begin advertising Friday for prospective bidders for the design and construction of 21,200 feet of tunneling for the MTT in Manhattan.  Prospective contractors for this tunneling segment are being asked to begin submitting their professional qualifications for review, the first step in the procurement process for that contract.  Qualifications for bidders for the two other tunnel segments, under the Palisades and under the Hudson River, will be requested later this year.

“The importance of the Mass Transit Tunnel, and getting started on construction, cannot be overstated,”

N.J. Transit Chairman and Transportation Commissioner Stephen Dilts said. “The MTT holds the promise of jobs now, and smoother, less congested commutes in a few years. Both are essential for our state.”

“This action shows our seriousness about starting construction of this shovel-ready project as soon as possible,” said Port Authority Chairman Anthony Coscia. ”With these advertisements, we move one step closer to reducing traffic congestion and improving air quality in our region.”

The Manhattan tunnels segment is being advertised on a design-build basis. The winning contractor will construct the Manhattan segment’s tunnels while simultaneously completing their final design.  Design-build is a proven approach for saving time on major construction projects while also holding down costs.

The Mass Transit Tunnel is New Jersey’s signature transportation project. The MTT will double commuter rail capacity between New Jersey and New York, and allow improved rail service within New Jersey, too.

Some 6,000 construction and related jobs will be created and maintained through the project’s completion in 2017, with another 44,000 permanent jobs generated after the tunnel is in service, thanks to the increased mobility and economic competitiveness the MTT will provide. The Mass Transit Tunnel is being constructed by N.J. Transit and its partner, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

“The MTT will open up new possibilities for anyone traveling to New York or within New Jersey,” said N.J. Transit Executive Director Richard Sarles. “Doubling rail capacity to Manhattan will free up space on N.J. Transit’S entire rail system. This will result in more and improved rail service across the state.  And by drawing more riders, the MTT will take 22,000 cars off the New Jersey Turnpike and other highways, reducing traffic and cutting air pollution.”

The Port Authority is proud to be part of such an important transportation project, which will create vitally needed jobs in the short-term and help the region’s economic growth in the long-term,” said Christopher O. Ward, the Port Authority’s executive director.

“The work on the Tonnelle Avenue portion of the ARC Mass Transit Rail tunnel marks the beginning of an exciting chapter in this region’s infrastructure history,” said Susan Bass Levin, deputy executive director of the Port Authority. “Our agency is proud to join with N.J. Transit on this critical project.”