New York and New Jersey will share the state-level funding contribution for the $1.7-billion Portal North Bridge project, a long-awaited upgrade to the Northeast Corridor that is set to begin construction later this year.
A funding agreement announced July 7 between Gov. Kathy Hochul (D-NY) and Gov. Phil Murphy (D-NJ) calls for each state to contribute $386 million toward replacing the 110-year-old Portal Bridge across the Hackensack River with a two-track, high-level fixed-span structure. The balance of the construction cost will come from federal sources, including a $766.5-million Federal Transit Administration grant, $261.5 million from Amtrak and $57.1 million from the Federal Highway Administration.
With 50 ft of vertical clearance above the river, the Portal North bridge will eliminate periodic swing-bridge openings for marine traffic that frequently interrupted Amtrak and NJ Transit service along the corridor's most heavily trafficked section. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the bridge carried approximately 200,000 passengers a day on more than 450 Amtrak and NJ Transit trains.
The Skanska/Traylor Brothers PNB Joint Venture was tapped for the bridge construction project last October. A notice to proceed was issued this past April, with completion currently scheduled for 2027. Construction will include retaining walls, deep foundations, concrete piers, structural steel bridge spans, rail systems, demolition of the existing bridge and related incidental works along a 2.44-mile corridor. A joint venture of AECOM and STV will provide construction management services.
The new Portal North Bridge is part of the $33.7-billion Gateway Program, which aims to double rail capacity between Newark, N.J., and New York City via multiple major infrastructure projects, including construction of two new Hudson River tunnels and rehabilitation of the existing century-old tubes.
Hochul and Murphy’s formal agreement codifies an informal cost-sharing arrangement negotiated among the states and federal government before the Trump Administration downgraded the program’s funding eligibility. Since the arrival of the Biden Administration in 2021, the Gateway Program has regained momentum and funding support.