Portal North Bridge construction gets underway

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New York Construction Report staff writer

A ground-breaking launched construction of the new Portal North Bridge at the beginning of August.

In October 2021, a $1,559,993,000 construction contract was awarded to Skanska/Traylor Bros PNB Joint Venture (STJV) for the construction of the new Portal North Bridge. The contract represents the single largest construction award in NJ TRANSIT’s history.

The project includes construction of retaining walls, deep foundations, concrete piers, structural steel bridge spans, rail systems, demolition of the existing 110-year old bridge and related incidental works. The Notice to Proceed (NTP) given to STJV in April signified the start of the construction contract, which is anticipated to take approximately five and a half years to complete.

“The Hudson County Building & Construction Trades Affiliates are excited for this project,” said Patrick Kelleher, president of The Hudson County Building & Construction Trades Council. “Not only is this great for our state, but for our skilled Union Workers to secure steady work and income at this time of our state of economy.”

Officials say construction of the new Portal North Bridge 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 along the Northeast Corridor.

The Portal North Bridge project is a critical component of the larger Gateway Program, which will eventually double rail capacity between Newark and New York.

“Safe, reliable, and modern infrastructure is about more than just getting to work on time. It’s also about the thousands of good-paying jobs this project will create and the families they support. By improving connectivity, we will also promote economic opportunity, not just for New Jersey residents and commuters, but for the Northeast Corridor and our nation,” said New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy.

The current Portal Bridge will be replaced with a new modern two-track, high-level, fixed-span bridge that will improve service and capacity along this section of the Northeast Corridor. The new Portal North Bridge will rise 50 feet over the Hackensack River and will allow marine traffic to pass underneath without interrupting rail traffic.

Work will be funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation, New Jersey, New York, and Amtrak. In January 2021, Governor Murphy announced the signing of a Full Funding Grant Agreement which secured $766.5 million in Federal Transit Administration funding to support the project’s construction.

“The ripple effect of a job like this is profound. The workers involved in this project are grabbing their part of the American dream all because of what these public officials have brought here today,” said Greg Lalavee, Business Manager of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 825. “On behalf of operating engineers, my fellow craft workers, and all the workers associated with this – we’re happy to get to work and we’re ready to get to work. That’s why we greet today with such enthusiasm.”

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