Elected Officials Break Ground on Bridge That Will Cost Taxpayers Millions

Governor Chris Christie joins Gateway Trustee Rich Bagger, Amtrak Board Chairman Tony Coscia, Senator Cory Booker, Senator Robert Menendez and Congressman Donald Payne Jr to break ground on the replacement of the Portal Bridge, a two-track 110-year-old swing span structure over the Hackensack River in Kearney and Secaucus, known for malfunctioning and causing delays on the busiest-in-the-nation Northeast Corridor in Kearny, N.J. on Friday, Oct. 13, 2017. (Governor's Office/Tim Larsen)

President Joe Biden and a gaggle of public officials broke ground on the critical Portal North Bridge on the Northeast Corridor.

Officials argue the bridge, which is part of the larger Gateway Program, will greatly reduce gridlock caused by critical operation and maintenance issues of the existing 110-year-old swing bridge and improve service, reliability and capacity for rail travel between New Jersey and New York City.

“Since the Portal Bridge was built, it has become the busiest rail span in the entire Western Hemisphere,” Biden said, according to an announcement. “Today, we are moving forward on a new bridge so that it will be higher over the water, so it won’t need to open and close, and allow us to increase speed, safety, efficiency, and capacity. It’s going to make life a lot better for New Jersey’s commuters.”

Earlier this month, the NJ Transit Board of Directors approved a nearly $1.6 million contract to start construction, the largest contract in the agency’s history.

The new bridge, a two-track, fixed-span bridge, will improve service and capacity along this section of the Northeast Corridor. It will rise 50-feet over the Hackensack River and will allow marine traffic to pass underneath without interrupting rail traffic.

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