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Critical Infrastructure Project Will Improve Rail Service Along Busiest Rail Corridor in the Nation

May 13, 2024

KEARNY, NJ – NJ TRANSIT and Amtrak have announced the Portal North Bridge has reached 50 percent completion.  At a ceremony at the construction site, the agencies marked the halfway point of the project.  The new bridge will replace the current 114-year-old swing bridge, which opens for maritime traffic resulting in a bottleneck along the busiest stretch of passenger rail in the country.  The new bridge is a fixed span that eliminates the need to open and close.

“New Jersey’s own Bon Jovi sang about ‘being halfway there.’ But we are not living on any prayer: this new bridge is a reality!” said Congressman Bill Pascrell Jr. “The primary purpose of government is to improve the daily lives of our neighbors. When it is soon finished, this new bridge will better the lives of millions of our neighbors. Leadership matters. President Biden, Governor Murphy, our delegation in Congress, and state leaders have worked hand-in-hand and we have delivered as a team. I cannot wait to be right here to cut the ribbon to this great bridge to our state’s bright future.”

“Portal North Bridge construction moving ahead on budget and on schedule is a testament to every stakeholder who has worked tirelessly to improve our railway network and increase commuter capacity. Investing in our infrastructure—as we did through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law—is investing in the economic potential and quality of life of families and our state as a whole. This milestone is the culmination of years of advocacy that I am proud to be a part of and I look forward to the day we ride together over the completed bridge,” said Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11).

“With the Portal North Bridge halfway completed, we mark another milestone in improving and modernizing the Northeast Corridor,” said Congressman Rob Menendez. “I am proud to see the progress we've made in enhancing New Jersey's infrastructure and ensuring smoother, more efficient transportation for our constituents in the Eighth District.”

"The Portal North Bridge Project stands as a testament to collaboration towards a common goal:  Enhancing the region’s transportation network and ensuring that people can seamlessly access New Jersey, New York, and beyond by train,” said Regional Administrator of the Federal Transit Administration Michael Culotta, whose agency provided $926 million in federal grants for the project.  “The Federal Transit Administration is committed to improving transit access for everyone who uses the Northeast Corridor.  Congratulations to Governor Phil Murphy, NJ Transit President & CEO Kevin Corbett, and everyone involved in the project for reaching the halfway point."

"The Federal Railroad Administration is excited about the progress being made on the Portal North Bridge, and we are proud to support the replacement of the current 114-year-old swing bridge, improving service for New Jersey riders and hundreds of thousands more who depend on the Northeast Corridor,” said FRA Administrator Amit Bose. “Thanks to President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, unprecedented investments are going towards improving and modernizing the Northeast Corridor, and projects of national significance are moving forward, which will allow for increased speeds, reduced travel time, and more reliable service for Americans."

“This landmark achievement is another milestone on the path of building a modern transit infrastructure linking the entire northeast corridor,” said Acting DOT Commissioner and NJ TRANSIT Board Chair Fran O’Connor.  “Congratulations to the men and women on this project who have made this significant progress.”

“Less than two years after officially breaking ground in August 2022, NJ TRANSIT is pleased to be able to demonstrate that mega-projects in the Northeast can be advanced on-time and on budget,” said NJ TRANSIT President and CEO Kevin S. Corbett. “The new Portal North Bridge will significantly enhance the customer experience for New Jerseyans, as well as all those commuting along the entire Northeast Corridor between Washington, DC and Boston.”

“With 50% of construction complete, Portal North Bridge serves as the shining example for what Amtrak and its partners can accomplish when we have the investments, partnerships and commitment to build the new era of America’s rail infrastructure projects,” said Amtrak Board Chair Tony Coscia. “We are grateful to the Administration, USDOT, Governor Murphy, NJ TRANSIT, the Federal Railroad Administration, the Federal Transit Administration and all the elected leadership in New Jersey for their continued support in helping us modernize and transform the Northeast Corridor.”

"Skanska Traylor JV are incredibly excited to mark this significant milestone as we continue to advance our contribution to the creation of a new Portal North Bridge,” said Brian Reilly, Vice President of Operations for Skanska and project director of the Skanska Traylor PNB joint venture. “Upon final completion, this vital passageway will vastly enhance the travel experience for the thousands of daily commuters and New Jersey residents who rely on this bridge.” 

The Portal North Bridge is 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, nearly doubling the height clearance and will allow marine traffic to pass underneath without interrupting rail traffic. 

The Portal North Bridge project will eliminate the 114-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 Portal North Bridge project is a critical component of the larger Gateway Program, which will eventually double rail capacity between Newark and New York.



NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing more than 925,000 weekday trips on 263 bus routes, three light rail lines, 12 commuter rail lines and through Access Link paratransit service. It is the third largest transit system in the country with 166 rail stations, 62 light rail stations and more than 19,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.