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New Jersey officially break ground on new Portal North Bridge construction

Governor Murphy and U.S. Transportation Secretary Buttigieg, Alongside NJ TRANSIT and Federal and State Officials, Officially Break Ground on New Portal North Bridge Construction Construction of Portal North Bridge and Larger Gateway Program Will Drive Economic Growth, Create Good-Paying Jobs, Significantly Improve Customer Experience for Millions of Commuters Annually

KEARNY, NJ (Hudson County) – Governor Governor Phil Murphy, alongside United States Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Senators Cory Booker and Bob Menendez, New Jersey Department of Transportation Commissioner and NJ TRANSIT Board Chair Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti, NJ TRANSIT President & CEO Kevin S. Corbett, and several federal, state, and local officials and project partners gathered Monday to celebrate the official physical groundbreaking of the new Portal North Bridge.

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 bridge is a major part of the larger Gateway Program, the nation’s most important infrastructure project, and a testament to the prioritization of critical infrastructure investments by the Murphy and Biden administrations.

“The esteemed elected officials, transportation executives, and union members gathered here today to celebrate a national milestone are evidence of what we can achieve when we band together as Americans in pursuit of a common purpose,” Murphy said. “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. The new Portal North Bridge symbolizes our lasting legacy and our commitment to the welfare and prosperity of all New Jerseyans.”

“This project turns the Portal North Bridge from a chokepoint to an access point. It modernizes the way that people and goods get to and from this region that is responsible for 20 percent of America’s economic product every year,” Buttigieg said. “I hope that this bridge will not only bring people to work and loved ones to where they need to be, but brings renewed confidence in our ability to get things done together. We are entering into a true infrastructure decade.”

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.

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.

The Portal North Bridge project will eliminate the 110-year-old swing bridge, which has been the enduring source of major service disruptions for NJ TRANSIT and Amtrak customers traveling on the Northeast Corridor.

The project is being 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.

In October 2021, Governor Murphy and NJ TRANSIT announced the approval of a $1,559,993,000 construction contract 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 Portal North Bridge project spans 2.44 miles of the Northeast Corridor line and includes construction of retaining walls, deep foundations, concrete piers, structural steel bridge spans, rail systems, demolition of the existing 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.

“Today, we turn the page. When the new Portal Bridge opens it will be fixed in place and high enough for marine traffic to pass below unimpeded. It will spare hundreds of thousands of passengers each day from malfunctions and delays,” Menendez said. “For travelers, it will mean less time stuck on a train and more time with their families and loved ones, and at their destinations. For our region, it will help us double rail capacity between Newark and Manhattan as part of the broader Gateway program. And for our communities, this project is directly tied towards more jobs, higher wages, and greater productivity.”

“The groundbreaking of Portal North Bridge is the culmination of an effort that has spanned years,” Booker said. “This vital infrastructure project has been a priority of mine since I joined the Senate. It will improve reliability and safety for riders, eliminate cumbersome delays, and move us one step closer to completing the broader Gateway Program that is critical to our region and nation’s long-term economic competitiveness. I am proud of the coordination between federal, state, and local officials that has moved this project forward.”

“After years of hard work, this is a huge win for Jersey — to finally see shovels in the ground and people working on the Portal North Bridge. Projects like this are exactly why I fought to help shape and pass the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill and claw back critically-needed federal investments back from Washington to Jersey,” said Rep. Josh Gottheimer. “This bridge is a top priority for the completion of the Gateway Train Tunnel and it will help residents spend more time with their families by commuting on faster, more reliable trains, create new jobs, and ensure Jersey’s economy is stronger and safer — by removing our reliance on a more than 110-year-old-bridge plagued with bottlenecks and delays.”

“Today we are replacing a bridge that has slowed down our trains for decades and keeping our promise to bring home the tax dollars we send to Washington,” said Rep. Tom Malinowski. “I am proud of what we did in Congress to get this project approved and funded, and look forward to many more groundbreakings as we move the Gateway Program forward.”

“Today is a great day for New Jersey residents. Thanks to President Biden, Governor Murphy, and Congressional Democrats, the Portal North Bridge is now well on its way to becoming a reality,” said Rep. Frank Pallone. “New Jersey commuters deserve safe and efficient transportation when they travel between New Jersey and New York each day, and I’m proud to see this project get started. It will improve the lives of thousands of commuters and will bolster the long-term growth of our region’s economy.”

“History is happening today. For years New Jerseyans have waited patiently for relief at the Portal Bridge over the Hackensack. Because of congestion and delays at this chokepoint, countless dinners, outings, and hours of family time have been sapped by interminable commutes,” said Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr., a longtime advocate for this project and whose district includes one side of the bridge. “Our groundbreaking today marks a titanic step to keep the Northeast Corridor moving and relieving one less cause of stress for countless North Jerseyans. Our federal, state, and local leaders have worked assiduously to reach this moment. I cannot wait for the new Portal North Bridge.”

“This groundbreaking for the Portal Bridge is the culmination of years of advocacy and hard work, as well as a new beginning for NJ-11 commuters who have suffered through too many arduous daily commutes and ‘summers of hell.’ This project, made possible by federal transportation funding that I’ve championed over the past three years, is going to make a tangible difference to the quality of life and economic opportunities of New Jersey families, and will have a significant positive environmental impact in North Jersey,” said Rep. Sherrill. “I look forward to the day we return for a ribbon cutting when the project is completed.”

“It has been my goal as Board Chair of NJ TRANSIT that the agency prioritizes investments in infrastructure projects that will deliver long-term customer experience improvements,” Gutierrez-Scaccetti said. “This groundbreaking symbolizes the next step in modernizing and maximizing rail service along the highly transited Northeast Corridor improving reliability and capacity for generations to come.”

“As all too many travelers are painfully aware, the existing bridge has been a source of countless delays and frustration for the millions of NJ TRANSIT and Amtrak customers who ride along the bridge between New Jersey and New York annually, and its importance cannot be overstated,” said NJ TRANSIT President & CEO Kevin S. Corbett. “Construction of a new bridge will not only create approximately 15,000 jobs and add billions of dollars to our local economy but, more importantly, it will provide safe, reliable rail service for all Northeast Corridor commuters between Washington, D.C and Boston for generations to come.”

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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