Portal North Bridge

The existing Portal Bridge is a two-track, “movable”, railroad swing-bridge that spans the Hackensack River between Kearny and Secaucus, NJ. The bridge is critical infrastructure enabling movement between destinations east and west of the Hudson River.  The Northeast Corridor (NEC) is the most heavily used passenger rail line in the US in terms of ridership and service frequency. Each weekday, nearly 300,000 passengers cross Portal Bridge on Amtrak and NJ TRANSIT trains between New Jersey and NYC. The existing Portal Bridge, due to its age, design and current condition, is a single point of failure on the NEC, causing  major rail traffic disruptions due to mechanical failures that inherently occur on a bridge equipped with 108(+) year-old fixtures, parts and technology. 

The proposed Portal North Bridge Project will replace the existing Portal Bridge with a new two-track fixed structure. The overall construction project will be approximately 2.44 miles in length, including a 3,660 foot long approach span located on the west side of the river, a 2,540 foot long approach span on the eastside of the river and, a 1,200 foot long center span crossing directly over the Hackensack River. 


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The project includes:

  • Construction of approximately 6,180 linear feet of railroad embankment sections located on both sides of the river to support the new tracks, as well as the construction of a new bridge over Newark / Jersey City Turnpike.

  • Installation of multiple new improvements to the railroad’s typical infrastructure systems, including the Track, Catenary, Electrification, Communications and Signaling systems.

The multiple benefits of the new Portal North Bridge include the following:

  • Increases the capacity of the NEC to meet current and future service demands by reducing the number of locations along the NEC where trains must merge.

  • Improves the service reliability and operational flexibility by reducing the vulnerability of the capacity constrained NEC to train delays, weather related incidents, breakdowns, and unusual travel demands.

  • Provides a redundant rail crossing of the Hackensack River that will facilitate maintenance of the railroad to enhance passenger safety and security

  • Allow for continued rail operations during off-peak maintenance periods and in the event of an unplanned track closures.

  • Minimizes conflicts with maritime traffic to avoid disruptions to river users, while maintaining uninterrupted service to rail operations, by providing greater vertical and horizontal clearances for the larger marine vessels.