President Joe Biden and New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, along with federal, state, and local officials, joined together to break ground on the critical Portal North Bridge Monday.
The bridge project, the largest critical infrastructure project in the United States, will reduce gridlock caused by critical operation and maintenance issues with the 110-year-old swing bridge, improving service, reliability, and capacity for rail travel between New York City and New Jersey.
“Governor Murphy, so many of the national challenges we are confronting are areas where you are already leading. The infrastructure bill is about rebuilding the arteries of America, and the Portal Bridge Project is showing why investments like this are so important. When the Portal Bridge was built, it was state-of-the-art, and it was, 110 years ago,” Biden said. “Today, it’s been called something different, a chokepoint, a bottleneck, an Achilles’ Heel to the Northeast Corridor. Since the Portal Bridge was built, it has become the busiest rail span in the entire Western Hemisphere. Today, we are moving forward on a new bridge so that it will be higher over the water, so it won’t need to open and close and allow us to increase speed, safety, efficiency, and capacity. It’s going to make life a lot better for New Jersey’s commuters.”
Funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation, NJ Transit, and Amtrak, the $1.56 billion project spans 2.44 miles of the Northeast Corridor line. It includes the construction of retaining walls, deep foundations, concrete piers, structural steel bridge spans, rail systems, demolition of the existing bridge, and other work. The new two-track, high-level, fixed span bridge is expected to take approximately five and a half years to complete. The new bridge will rise 50-feet over the Hackensack River to allow marine traffic to pass under it without interrupting rail traffic.
“Today is a great day for New Jersey and the entirety of the Northeast Corridor,” Murphy said. “This momentous groundbreaking is the culmination of years of hard work, planning, and relentless lobbying undertaken by our Administration, our federal delegation, and so many dedicated partners across government.”