New Jersey Officials and Pete Buttigieg Celebrate Groundbreaking at the New Portal North Bridge

Aug. 3, 2022
The groundbreaking ceremony was attended by NJ officials and U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg

Officials from New Jersey, including Governor Phil Murphy, Senators Cory Booker and Bob Menendez, and others, were joined by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg on Monday as they gathered to celebrate the groundbreaking of the new Portal North Bridge.

The new Portal North Bridge will reduce gridlock caused by critical operation and maintenance issues of the existing 110-year-old swing bridge while improving 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,” said Gov. Murphy. “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,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Buttigieg. “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 piece of the Gateway Program, which will eventually double rail capacity between Newark and New York. 

The current Portal Bridge will be replaced with a modern two-track, high-level, fixed-span bridge, improving 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 project is being funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), 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 an approximately $1.6 billion 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 marks another advancement for the Gateway Program with the groundbreaking of the Portal North Bridge. Upon completion, the crossing will give rail passengers and commuters coming to and from New York City a reliable commute, replacing a century old bridge long past its useful life,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. “For over a decade, I’ve prioritized funding for this project and the entire Gateway Program to secure our region’s economic future. Today’s event is another milestone on the path of building modern transit infrastructure linking New York and New Jersey and the entire northeast corridor. I look forward to advancing more progress in the months ahead.”