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PANYNJ advances Tier II environmental study for freight-rail program

The authority is considering expanding its existing rail-car float system or building a freight-rail tunnel under New York Harbor.
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The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) is moving ahead with a Tier II environmental impact study for two preferred alternative proposals as part of the Cross Harbor Freight Program.

Cross Harbor Partners, an STV/AKRF joint venture, will prepare a detailed analysis of the environmental effects and potential mitigation measures for two preferred alternatives the same joint venture team helped identify during Tier I, PANYNJ officials said in a press release.

The authority announced it would contract with the consultant earlier this year.

The alternatives are the construction of a freight-rail tunnel and the expansion of the authority's existing rail-car float operation. The tunnel option calls for construction of a 4-mile tunnel that would run under New York Harbor and between Jersey City, New Jersey, and Brooklyn, New York.

The rail-car float alliterative would "significantly" expand the existing system operated by New York New Jersey Rail LLC, officials said.

"The Tier II EIS will move the PANYNJ and the entire region one step closer to a solution that has long been sought to improve traffic congestion," said Christina Alexiou-Hidalgo, STV associate and project manager.

"In addition to conducting detailed analyses and securing environmental clearance for both alternatives, the study will also demonstrate a 'proof of concept' for each alternative and discuss mitigations for any potentially significant impacts identified in the study," said Mei Mei Lee, AKRF senior technical director and deputy project manager.

After the Tier II study is completed — which is expected to take three years — the project would enter the preliminary engineering phase if funding is secured, PANYNJ officials said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 6/22/2018