Why yet another swing bridge? Because it appears that I, as a Federal taxpayer, am going to help pay $1.5b to replace this bridge. (I'd rather pay for efficient rail travel than more roads.) Or is the $1.5b for the complete access project including a new tunnel? Nope, $1.5b is just for the bridge! The entire "Gateway" project is $24b with $10b for the tunnel. [CrainsNewYork (payware)] The new bridge is higher so that it doesn't need a movable span. I assume that is why the replacement is such an expensive bridge.
|Amtrak from ProgressiveRailroading|
I saved a satellite image since this bridge is supposed to be replaced.
Amtrak continues to plan a replacement of the more than 110-year-old Portal North Bridge, a two-track, swing-span structure over the Hackensack River in Kearney and Secaucus, New Jersey. The bridge often malfunctions, causing transit delays on the busy Northeast Corridor.
“It’s about 23 feet above water and rotates to open for marine traffic. It has not worked properly more frequently than we’d like, and causes massive delays to trains,” said Amtrak spokesman Craig Schulz.
Amtrak plans to replace it with a new 50-foot, high-level, fixed-span bridge that can accommodate faster trip times and boost reliability. The $1.5 billion, six-span bridge will not open and close like a movable bridge, said Schulz.
The bridge replacement is part of Amtrak’s Gateway program, which involves a series of projects aimed at doubling rail capacity between New York and New Jersey, and improving resiliency. The new Portal North Bridge and a Hudson Tunnel project comprise the program’s first phase.
The new bridge will be built to the north of the existing structure, which eventually will be dismantled. The new bridge will feature 10 percent more capacity.
The project has a five-year construction schedule and the bridge has been designed, said Schulz.
Amtrak has collected half of project costs from local partners and applied to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) for a core capital program grant. The railroad is awaiting the FTA’s review. For now, Amtrak has performed some early work for the project.
At some point, the railroad also expects to replace the Portal South Bridge with a comparable structure, said Schulz.
Most of the closure problems are getting the miter rails to extend across the gaps and lock into position. "Sometime workers have to use sledge hammers to bang the miter rails between the bridge and land back into the locked position. On Nov. 23, 1996, an eastbound Amtrak train derailed on the Portal Bridge and sideswiped a westbound Amtrak train. The National Transportation Safety Board blamed the incident on the miter rails." [www.nj.com]