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Amtrak has completed a three-year project to replace the Niantic River Bridge in Connecticut along the Northeast Corridor.The new bridge will help boost train speeds, reduce disruptions to boaters and expand beach access for area residents, Amtrak officials said in a press release.The bridge, which crosses the river between East Lyme and Waterford, Conn., will continue to serve as a key link for passenger- and freight-rail traffic between New York City and Boston, accommodating 38 Amtrak, 14 commuter and two freight trains per day. The original span was built in 1907.The project represents a "positive step" in improving critical rail infrastructure along the Northeast Corridor, said Amtrak President and Chief Executive Officer Joseph Boardman.Meanwhile, Amtrak and the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) announced that more than 70,000 riders have traveled on a line between Washington, D.C., and Norfolk, Va., in the route's first six months of operation.Service to Norfolk, which started Dec. 12, provides a same-seat trip from Norfolk to such cities as Richmond, Va., D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia and Boston. Amtrak, the DRPT, Norfolk Southern Railway, CSX Transportation and the city of Norfolk worked to launch the service, which extends Amtrak's Northeast Regional service to and from Norfolk. The round-trip train marked the return of intercity passenger-rail service to Norfolk for the first time since 1997."The service expands mobility, increases connectivity and travel options to one of the state's most populous regions," said Boardman.To better serve Norfolk passengers, construction of a station near Harbor Park is under way and expected to be completed in fall.Amtrak also announced it appointed Michael Logue chief safety officer, effective July 29. He will report to Vice President of Operations DJ Stadtler.Logue will be responsible for planning, directing and overseeing the safety activities and standards of Amtrak departments to achieve continuous improvement in employee and passenger safety, including the railroad's Safe-2-Safer behavior-based cultural safety program.He has 36 years of rail industry experience, including the past 30 years at the Federal Railroad Administration, where he most recently was the acting associate administrator for railroad safety and chief safety officer.