New Jersey’s $1.8 Billion Bridge Project Sees Outreach to Hundreds of DBEs

Meanwhile, USDOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg has just committed to backing the project.

Source : Screenshot via Gateway Program on YouTube

May 24, 2021

Author : Alex Bustillos

Things are finally starting to push forward in the construction of the new $1.8 billion Portal North Bridge project.

The more than 100-year-old bridge spans the Hackensack River in New Jersey. It carries 450 trains and 200,000 passengers per day, according to the Hudson Reporter.

The swing-style bridge is notorious for breaking down and getting stuck in the open position while making way for marine traffic, which has a tendency to strand commuters on Amtrak and the NJ Transit line, and essentially shuts down the entire northeast corridor.

“This is an example of a project that may be located in one region but is so critical that you would feel it anywhere in the country if there were to be, for example, a failure in one of these critical tunnels. So we’re continuing to see this move along and are committed to working with you to see it go forward,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said during a congressional committee meeting.

Buttigieg blamed the Trump administration for delays on the project and said his agency was working to get the Environmental Impact Statement on the Gateway tunnels project out.

The Gateway Project will see the Portal Bridge replaced by the $1.8 billion Portal North Bridge, a taller structure that will be fixed in place, allowing vessels to pass under it without  the need of changing positions.

The larger Gateway Project will also include modernization projects on rail infrastructure between Newark and Penn Stations, a new rail tunnel underneath the Hudson River, and other rehabilitation projects.

“I agree that Gateway is a project of national significance. The Hudson Tunnel, which is part of the Gateway Program, is an essential link,” Nuria Fernandez, President Biden’s nominee to lead the Federal Transit Administration, told New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez. “If confirmed, I commit to working with the project sponsors as they take all the necessary steps to complete the requirements for receipt of the funding.”

The tunnel will include two-tracks under the Hudson River between New Jersey and New York City, allowing the existing century-old infrastructure to be rehabilitated. 

As federal officials announce their support for the project NJ Transit is celebrating the diversity of bidders they were able to rally for the bridge project. Last week, NJ Transit’s Office of Business Development hosted a virtual Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE) outreach event.

The conference was apparently a success with “hundreds” of national DBEs reached by the office with the aim of informing them about subcontracting opportunities on the project.

“The Portal North Bridge Project is an integral piece of New Jersey’s development and growth. And as such, I am proud that NJ Transit is committed to creating opportunities for small, socially and economically disadvantaged businesses to be a part of this undertaking,” NJ TRANSIT Board Member Shanti Narra said.

NJ Transit President and CEO Kevin Corbett had the following to say:

“NJ TRANSIT is committed to breaking down the barriers facing DBEs in the construction industry, and as this conference underscores, our strategy for Portal North is to maximize contract opportunities for certified DBEs.

This project represents an opportunity to develop a larger pool of qualified contractors that represents the diversity of the region we serve, in addition to improving service and reliability, generating billions of dollars in economic activity, and creating thousands of jobs to support New Jersey’s economic recovery as we emerge from the pandemic.”

The Portal North Bridge is expected to take about five and a half years to be completed after construction begins. Earlier this year, the Federal Transit Administration announced $766.5 million in grants for the construction of the bridge.

Category : Disadvantaged Business Enterprises Contractor Trades Department of Transportation Diversity Outreach Federal Government Investment in Infrastructure Bridges Procurement Public Works Railroads

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