About the Project
The Portal Bridge has been in operation since 1910 and runs across the Hackensack River between the cities of Kearny and Secaucus, New Jersey. This rail bridge is a vital part of the Northeast Corridor system, one of the busiest rail corridors in the nation running service between Boston, Massachusetts and Washington, D.C. The Portal Bridge Capacity Enhancement Project is being undertaken by Amtrak and NJ TRANSIT. The project aims to improve and increase the capacity of this vital rail crossing. A Preferred Alternative was selected, which recommended the construction of a three-track fixed bridge north of the existing bridge alignment, a two-track moveable bridge south of the existing bridge alignment and a duck-under structure west of the Hackensack River to allow for necessary train movements. During the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) acted as lead federal agency, and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) were cooperating agencies. In December 2008 the FRA issued the Record of Decision (ROD) confirming the recommended preferred alternative.
Project Scope Revision 2011 - Subsequent to the Record of Decision (ROD) the project's scope was revisited in light of available funding and the termination of the neighboring Access to the Region's Core project. The Portal Bridge Capacity Enhancement Project currently involves the final engineering and design of a new two-track, fixed-span bridge across the Hackensack River between Secaucus and Kearny north of the existing bridge. The scope of this phase of work includes activities for the track structure and track, civil and hydrology work, surveying and geotechnical work, utility engineering, communications and signaling design, electric traction design, and the development of cost estimates for all project components.
The project, when complete, will enhance capacity to meet current and future demand including new service along the NEC; improve service reliability and operational flexibility; enhance passenger safety and security; minimize conflicts with maritime traffic; optimize existing infrastructure and planned improvements; and minimize impacts on the surrounding environment.