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The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) earlier this week published an environmental assessment of Amtrak’s proposal to replace the Sawtooth Bridges in New Jersey as part of a broader plan to increase rail capacity and achieve a state of good repair.
The FRA is soliciting comments on the environmental assessment this month.
The proposed Sawtooth project calls for replacing two aging two-track rail bridges on a section of Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor (NEC) that extends from Newark, New Jersey, to the entrance of the North River rail tunnel in Weehawken, New Jersey.
The proposed new bridges would include four tracks to allow crews to divert trains during scheduled maintenance and unexpected disruptions. Currently, maintenance and disruptions result in major passenger delays for Amtrak, as well the New Jersey Transit commuter-rail system.
The bridges are built over NJ Transit’s Morris & Essex Line and Port Authority Trans-Hudson and Conrail track.
“These critical spans were built in 1907 and are in urgent need of replacement and expansion, which will increase reliability and ultimately assist in eliminating a major bottleneck in the busiest section of the Northeast Corridor,” said NJ Transit President and Chief Executive Officer Kevin Corbett and Amtrak Chief Operating and Commercial Officer Stephen Gardner in a joint statement.
The $1.6 billion replacement project is part of Amtrak’s Gateway Program to increase capacity on the NEC.